Dear Dad, Happy Father’s Day!

An Open Letter of Understanding

dear DadReading Time: 4 minutes

Dear Dad,

Two years into this fatherhood thing, and I have it all figured out. Not exactly.

In reality, I’m in more over my head today than I was on February 22, 2014 – when I became a dad myself.  Life is crazy.  Life is fast.  And life doesn’t seem to stop, to let me think and get it right the first time.  Instead, life seems to be series of mistakes that I somehow learn from.  But I’m writing all this to you and you’re nodding your head, because you’ve already been there – with me.

I just finished sharing a Father’s Day sermon that I titled: “Going the Distance.”  Jesus said that the narrow path is difficult to find and hard to pursue, but that journey leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14). I’ll be honest, it wasn’t difficult to think of ways you’ve gone the distance as a dad.  Here are some of things I’ve learned from your influence in my life:

  1. Being happy and content is a choice worth making.

I’m going to be honest – it sometimes makes me sick how happy you are. Life isn’t always perfect, but with God, we can be perfectly content. #LessonsFromDad Click To TweetThere were times (ie. during your knee replacement) that I just wanted to tell you, “You can be upset if you want to be…you’re allowed…you don’t have to smile if you knee is every shade of blue, red and purple.”  But with every simile and decision to see the positive, I slowly learned (and probably still learning) that being happy and content is a choice not a reaction. Life isn’t always perfect, but with God, we can be perfectly content.

  1. Parenthood is really servanthood.

I’m humbly living this one every day.  I look back at my childhood and I can’t remember lacking anything, and yet you went back to school later in life and money was clearly tight.  I’m learning that parenting is really about serving. #LessonsFromDad Click To TweetI remember being frustrated with so many little things, and yet you provided in ways that made my life easier and your life a little harder.  Everything from turning down career advancements to helping pay for my education.  Time and time again, you thought of me before yourself – it’s a godly principle of selflessness. I’m now a dad to a little girl, who I love dearly, and I’m learning that parenting is really about serving.  Your godly example is what I have to follow.

  1. Respect is difficult to teach, but vital in life.

I know you probably said, “Listen to your mother” more than you wanted, but I learned the importance of respecting those around me – especially women.  I learned the importance of respecting those around me – especially women. #LessonsFromDad Click To TweetTruth be told, I probably never quite understood that until I had a daughter.  Mom was outnumbered, three to one growing up, so family dynamics were slightly different.  I’m already outnumbered, so you can tell mom the tide has turned!  All joking aside, you’re desire to teach respect has instilled much value in me to be an example for my daughter as she learns what to expect from the future men in her life.

I could list more, but this summarizes you well.  Thanks for “going the distance,” and finding and choosing the narrow path. I’m proud to call you dad and I’m even prouder to know your influence on me will impact how I parent my daughter and future children.

Thanks dad! Happy Father’s Day!

Your turn…

What have you learned from your dad?  …if you can, give him a call.

I would love to hear from you!  Feel free to comment below, on social media, or by email (andrewholm@gmail.com).  SUBSCRIBE HERE!

Remembrance Day: Say “Thank-you”

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Remembrance Day (November 11) is around the corner.  It’s a time when we stop.  A time when we reflect.  A time when we can hopefully realize the weight of our freedom.  The more we experience that freedom, however, and the further we are removed from war.  I’m afraid one day, for one minute, isn’t enough.  I think we need to create an attitude of gratitude for not only those who have fought for us, but also for those who continue to make Canada a safe place.   Let’s remember to say “thank-you”.

say "thank-you"

My wife’s nudge…

I can’t tell you how many times I feel a nudge when we’re in public and my wife notices a member of the military standing next to us.  Her heart immediately says, “we should say something…” But for some reason, we make it awkward.  It’s easy to say “thank-you” during the school assembly or public community gathering, but during everyday life, it’s easy to ignore and think, “someone else will say something,” or “they already know we appreciate them, ” or even, “maybe they want to be left alone?”  In reality, they are excuses.  Who doesn’t like to be acknowledged for serving a nation?  We often just lack the courage to say “thank-you”.   It’s a little ironic really.   The amount of courage they have displayed, or are currently displaying, is beyond the understanding of many of us, and yet we lack the courage to say “thank-you”.  Throughout the whole year, let’s remember to say “thank-you”!

Shiloh, his best friend…

Veterans have been through so much and they will carry much of what they’ve experienced on their shoulders the rest of their lives!  So many have lost their lives in war, while it seems so many re-live war every day as Veterans. Some are able to remove themselves, but just as many struggle with post-traumatic stress (PTSD)  While it might look like a textbook concept, PTSD is a real thing!

My wife and I have met a very nice veteran in our town.  His name is Ian.  Ian struggles with some social issues because of what he faced in keeping others safe.  Shiloh is his best friend – she’s a dog to us; a companion to him.  It’s so amazing to watch them.  Shiloh will do whatever is necessary to protect, honor, and respect a man who has served this country.  And yet… how many times have I witnessed others give Ian a hard time about having a service dog in public places.  If a dog can give respect, I think everyone who experiences freedom in this country, can do the same.  I challenge you – how will you say “thank-you”?

If it was me…

During a recent service, we took a moment to reflect on those who make this country safe.  I was away from home for a couple of days and I quickly remembered giving my wife and little girl a hug and kiss when I left.  In that moment, when we stopped to reflect, tears began to run down my face.  I began to picture…what if me, saying goodbye, would be the last time I gave them a hug and kiss?  What if I was leaving and not confident I would return?  What if I was embarking on a selfless journey to keep others safe?  That 60 secs blew…me…away.

Remembrance Day isn’t about crying, it’s not even about death, it’s about being grateful and acknowledging the selfless sacrifice so many men and woman have made and are ready to make, should we have to go to war.  It’s about finding a way to say “thank-you” every chance we can.  Remembrance Day is about making sure the children of today know about the sacrifice of yesterday so they don’t take freedom for granted.  Join with me to say “thank-you”.

How can we say “Thank-you” ?

1. Wait until November 12 for Christmas

By waiting until November 12 for Christmas, we can really focus on November 11.  Veterans deserve some time.  They deserve our attention.  They deserve the community to stop, slow down, and pay attention to their selfless sacrifices.  I challenge you to say “thank-you” by holding off on Christmas until November 12.

2. Attend a School Assembly or Community Service

There are many schools and community services happening in the days leading up to November 11.  Many of those assemblies and services will have Veterans present or people representing those who have served.  If you can make it, make yourself present.  Show our children the importance of respect and show our Veterans how much we respect them.

3. Ask a Veteran, military personnel, or first-responder for a prayer request

They may not believe in God.  They may not care for your faith.  They may not even believe a prayer can work.  It’s amazing, however, how many are open to someone caring enough to pray for them.  If you see a Veteran, a military personnel, or a first-responder (police, fire-fighter, paramedic), say “thank-you” by asking how you can pray for them.  The situations they face, or have faced, can weigh heavy, and a simple prayer can go a long way.

4. Remember to simply say “thank-you”

Perhaps it goes without saying, but the most simplest thing we can do is simply say “thank-you”.  And it doesn’t have to be the week of Remembrance Day to do so.  Let’s be people of a thankful spirit.

5. Wear a poppy

Wearing a poppy is a simple way to show your support.  Make a donation, and wear one proudly next to your heart.

Here’s the challenge…let’s be God’s hands and feet by respecting and honoring those who have kept, and continue to keep, our nation safe.  It’s not just a moment in history, it’s not just a sad time, it’s a time of respectful reflection.  So let’s remove our hats, proudly wear a poppy, have an attitude of gratitude, and simply say “thank-you”.