It is too easy to take our fathers for granted. My Dad has continued to impress me more and more each year. It is so encouraging to see people age well rather than end up grumpy and negative.
In 1910, Father’s Day was invented in Spokane Washington by Arkansas-born Sonora Smart Dodd. It is not without significance that her dad William Jackson Smart, was a civil war veteran who singlehandedly raised his six children. When Sonora was only sixteen, her mother died in childbirth. This left Sonora the only daughter helping her dad raising her brothers. While listening to a sermon about mothers, Sonora was very excited by Miss Anne Jarvis’ invention of Mother’s Day. June 5th, her dad’s birthday, was the original intended date for Father’s Day, but it was delayed to the third Sunday of June in order to have time to make arrangements. Like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is celebrated on a Sunday because of its original connection to Sunday morning worship.
I thank God for my wonderful father, Ted Hird. It fills me with gratitude to have a loving father that believes in me. My dad has been such an encourager. Over the years, he often sent me e-mails and notes telling me how pleased he is with my work, my family and my life. I want to be like my father in his remarkable gift of encouragement. It is so easy to be someone who sees what is wrong with other people. My dad has looked for that which is working and builds on it.
When my dad became an electrical engineer in 1950, they were still using test-tubes for radio communication. Over sixty-two years later, my dad is still growing and learning. I want to be the kind of father who never stops learning, never stops changing, never stops expanding my horizons. Technology is always changing, but my dad has never been left behind. Even at age 95, my father is a passionate reader who has consumed books in a way that keeps his mind active and fresh. I want to be a father that always keeps reading, and inspires my own children to read for the very pleasure of reading.
My father is a born leader. He rose from very humble circumstances to become the President of Lenkurt Electric, at that time the largest secondary industry in BC. I have seen my father make wise decisions again and again in very difficult leadership situations. As a trained leadership coach, I want to lead like my father, with wisdom and patience. My father has raised up many younger leaders who have made a lasting difference in the world. Like my father, I have a passion for raising up a new generation of healthy leaders.
Through my father, God passed on to me my gift and passion for writing. Writing for me is like breathing. That is why I have invested thirty years communicating as a Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News columnist. When my father has written, he has been sharp, crisp and clear. I have loved to receive from him new chapters every couple of months about his massive autobiography.
I often wish that I had my father’s carpentry skills. It is remarkable how many gifts that he has built through love for various members of our family, including my book shelves and my wife’s dining room cabinet. My dad has always willing to help whenever he can.
My father has developed a strong faith over the years that is a great encouragement to me. As a former agnostic, my father became very interested in understanding the bible for himself. It is great that I can openly chat with my father about our common faith in Jesus Christ. Taking the Alpha Course was a major step in my father’s spiritual pilgrimage. My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us will discover fresh ways to honour our fathers for all the good that they have done in our lives.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News
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