To know me is to know my father. I am a direct product of his teaching. I wish I could create a nice list of memorable moments to share, but he was so much more than that… and we’d be here for quite a while. He was a man filled with so much experience and wisdom, and most importantly, he was always willing to share.
Physically, he was a short, unassuming man… until he spoke. His voice was that of someone who commanded respect. Not a voice that made you fearful, but a voice that made you listen. He was always meticulous and specific with what he said, and was notorious for correcting your grammar. But from that, he taught me to not waste my words. Like him, I’m not a big talker, but it’s not because I’m shy or nervous, it’s because I want to say what I mean, and mean what I say. My father helped me understand the importance of clarity and thoughtfulness in my speech. He showed me that when you speak clearly, use proper grammar and present yourself in a professional manner, people will pay attention to what you say.
He taught me how to carry myself with class and dignity and how to dress well and take care of what’s mine. He showed me how to iron and keep my shirts and pants wrinkle-free because we don’t know when we’ll meet the Lord, but when we do, you better believe we’ll at least look good. But within that, the deeper lesson was learning to take care and respect myself.
My father was also a very creative man. As many of you know, I like to draw. I’ve been doodling for as long as I can remember. I also love to play music. I grew up a band geek and later learned to play drums and guitar. You can probably guess where those talents came from. My father would often talk about his days in band, insisting that I practice more and to “feel the music”… or give me tips on my artwork, showing me how to draw ninja turtles… but what he was really doing was helping me to not be afraid to use my imagination. That it was OK to think and problem solve a little differently. He had a great ability to take something as is, do a little thinking and then create something awesome. This was most evident in his cooking… specifically his ribs. I apologize to those of you who’ve never had them because unfortunately, you really missed out.
Of all the things my father taught me, his actions are what I remember most. He grew up in New York and would tell us about his childhood. It wasn’t easy. But I’ll never forget him telling us about the night he stood outside of a church, listening to the music… finally going inside and his life changing forever when he accepted Christ. He was so grateful for that moment and I’ll always remember how much he loved Jesus. How important it was to him for his family to know he was a proud man of God and that with God, all things are possible.
So yes, the man you see before you today is a direct product of the teaching and wisdom from my father. He taught me many lessons, and through his actions, showed me what a godly man, husband, father, and friend looks like. He poured so much into me and I’m proud of the man I’ve become. Thank you, dad for everything. We’ll miss you, but don’t worry, we’ll be ok because you taught us well.