Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day to C. Marion Smith, Sr.

My hero, my dad

The notion of “dad” triggers may fond memories of early experiences with him as well as an ever-growing friendship in the adult years. “Dad” to me means; pinewood derbies, cushman scooters, fishing, hunting, and my first car. I also think of his amazing success as husband, provider, caregiver, and grandparent. I have received invaluable instruction from my dad about the significance of honesty, character and discipline. His example of a holy life has been a guiding influence to me on many occasions.

I am learning that values aren’t primarily taught to young people by telling them what is right and wrong, though it does have its place. Our (His) values are primarily taught to our children almost incidentally. That is, little by little… moment by moment. By observing how we respond to life’s challenges, hearing us talk on the phone and by being with us. At least, this is the way it was for me. Many times, it was picked up very, very subtly. My dad’s important instructions have come to me through his exemplary life of devotion to God, family, Church and his fellow man. He is a sinner saved by God’s grace that has counted the cost of discipleship and taken his place among the committed.

Many people consider Abraham Lincoln to be the greatest American who ever lived. A generation ago, writer Carl Sandburg set out to analyze and explain the manhood of the sixteenth president of the United States. After much study, Sandburg summed up the character of Abe Lincoln with two words: steel and velvet. He described him as a man of steel and velvet. A Father has to be tough and tender. He needs to be a strong leader of his home and also the great lover of his home. These descriptive traits – steel and velvet – sum up the character of my dad.

Someone has rightfully compared life to that of a relay race where father and mother have the primary responsibility of passing the baton of eternal life along to the children. It is the means that God established for transferring His value system from one generation to the next. If our children do not get that baton in their hands, then nothing else matters much. It matters not how much they accomplish in life. If they don’t get that baton then I have failed. I thank God for my dad and mom who sowed seeds of eternal life in me. They sowed these seeds on many occasions, which they were not even aware.

I have a master’s degree in theology from a respected university but I am convinced that many of America’s greatest teachers have never seen a college. My dad never went to college and yet his influence in my life far outweighs that of any PhD.

Happy Father’s Day, dad! I am blessed to call you my hero, my dad. I love you.

C. Marion (Buddy) Smith, Jr.
June 2009