Fatherhood

Tony Dungy Wants Better Dads

I had the privilege of coaching in the NFL for 28 years. At the end of my career, one of the most frequent questions I would get asked was, “How have the players changed over the years?” My answer was that so many more of them were coming to us without the benefit of growing up with their dads. The statistics for NFL players mirror those for young men in general in America, and that is a growing concern. Because, present or absent, dads shape lives. We have a number of difficulties facing our nation, but I believe fatherlessness is right at the top of the list.

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Four Things I Learned from Dad

First appeared at SharperIron on July 24, 2009. Larry Blumer, the “Dad” in this essay, went to be the Lord August 17, 2011.

An old adage says that when you’re sixteen your dad doesn’t know anything, when you’re twenty-six he’s occasionally sensible and when you’re thirty-six he’s one of the wisest people you know. I can testify that there is some truth in that observation. Though I still rarely seek my dad’s advice, it’s because—at age forty-three—I have come to realize how much of his advice I’ve already absorbed from growing up around him.

Our Savior bought us with His own blood in order to redeem us and remake us His image. That transformation is central to His great gospel purpose. In my life, He used my dad to accomplish some important parts of that purpose.

Four values

I don’t think my dad sat down and planned “I need to teach these four values to my kids.” He did it mostly by just being there and speaking his mind (sometimes quite passionately!) in the context of a life that made what he meant unmistakably clear.

1. Dependability

Bob Jones Sr. was fond of saying “The greatest ability is dependability.” But that concept was familiar to me long before I read it in high school. I remember hearing as a kid, “If you say you’re going to do something, you do it. If you say you’re going to be somewhere, you be there,” and other variations on that theme (See Prov. 25:19). Dad wasn’t trying to preach, but his words drove a biblical principle deep into my young mind.

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My Little Girl

I had apparently brushed aside her bashful requests too long. So over Christmas break our youngest child and only daughter renewed an old petition: She wanted her ears pierced! Such a mundane entreaty has a strange affect on an old dad who finds it a bit disconcerting to watch his little girl mature into a young…well, you know—I can’t even bring myself to write the word.

We sat down on the couch for a talk—a short one for me, a very long and unnecessary one in her estimation. I asked if she couldn’t wait a while longer, like maybe another 30 years or so. I asked rather melodramatically if she had counted the cost—if she was willing to endure the pain and follow the disinfecting regimen without grumbling. Most important I asked her why she wanted her ears pierced. She explained very matter-of-factly that she wanted to “look good.” I explained very matter-of-factly that I had no idea why that mattered or how earrings could help her attain such a ridiculous objective.

She sighed and rolled her eyes a good bit during our conversation. She endured my stall tactics with commendable patience. She also found revolting my insinuation that her request might perhaps be motivated by a desire to impress boys. I found solace in her repugnance toward the notion, while conceding in my mind that my relief is doomed to have a short shelf-life.

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Four Things I've Learned from Dad

An old addage says that when you’re sixteen your dad doesn’t know anything, when you’re twenty-six he’s occaisonally sensible and when you’re thirty-six he’s one of the wisest people you know. I can testify that there is some truth in that observation. Though I still rarely seek my dad’s advice, it’s because—at age forty-three—I have come to realize how much of his advice I’ve already absorbed from growing up around him.

Our Savior bought us with His own blood in order to redeem us and remake us His image. That transformation is central to His great gospel purpose. In my life, He used my dad to accomplish some important parts of that purpose.

Four values

I don’t think my dad sat down and planned “I need to teach these four values to my kids.” He did it mostly by just being there and speaking his mind (sometimes quite passionately!) in the context of a life that made what he meant unmistakeably clear.

1657 reads

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