Models of What a Father Should Be

Bill Davis is an encouraging friend.

Bill is actually one of the handful of encouraging voices God has placed in my life. I have learned to rely on his prayers, words of wisdom, and kind heart. I’m sure you will be blessed by reading his thoughts on what a father should be.

Not long ago, someone asked me what I would say about Father’s Day. Although they could remember several things I had written about Mother’s Day, they said they couldn’t remember me writing about Father’s Day. I don’t think I ever have.

Since my dad died when I was just over two, Father’s Day was not a big deal at the Davis house as I was growing up. It just wasn’t.

Until I was in my late teens, I thought the concept of fatherhood was overrated. I thought, “Hey, I’ve never had a father, and I am just fine.” I finally began to get into and understand the traditions of Father’s Day after I married, since Deborah’s father was very much alive.

After the birth of our daughters, all of a sudden, fatherhood became a serious responsibility. I didn’t think I had a good point of reference for what a father should do, how a father should act, or how a father should be,  but I was wrong. I had all kinds of models to look back on and learn from.

My brother, Jim, is 13 years older than me. He taught me how to shoot a gun, ride a bicycle, change gears with a straight stick, and a thousand other things that daddies traditionally do. He did this even though I ran around his car with a rake and melted the buttons on his car radio with the car cigarette lighter.

Uncle Freddie (my Mother’s brother) gave me a love for the smell of fresh sawdust. He taught me how to drive a nail without bending it and how to saw a straight line with a handsaw. He built a wagon for my goat (Carol) to pull. For years, he built a downhill racer (Nellybell) that I rode down the old clay hill near my house.

Jack Towns (daddy Jack,) a neighbor and friend of the family from church, tried to teach me how to milk a cow and goat. He also demonstrated how to slaughter chickens and turkeys for food. I never got the hang of any of this, but that wasn’t his fault because he tried.

J. B. Hobbs taught me about planting corn, squash, beans, and tomatoes. He let me ride with him on his tractor and occasionally in the back of his truck. He built the first homemade butterbean sheller on Chicken Road.

Hilton Perdue and his wife, Alice, took me fishing and taught me how to bait a hook and clean fish. He also took me to his daddy’s house so I could see him make cane syrup. It was amazing for a little boy like me. He powered his cane mill with a belt wrapped around the back wheel of his 1928 or 29 Model-A Ford truck. It was a really old truck even then.

Kannah Belflower was a physically imposing but soft-spoken man in my church. He always asked me about what was going on in my life, and he always seemed to know when I needed an encouraging word. His kind words showed me that practically everyone appreciates them, and we should take the time to give them.

When I began to think about it, a lot of men, particularly from my home church, stepped in and gave of their time to do fatherly things with me, as well as other kids who needed it. Half of these men are long gone, and I never even thought to tell them thanks for all that they did for me when I was growing up. I should have, but I just never did.

If your father is still around, by all means, spend some time with him this weekend and let him know how much you love and appreciate him. It would also be nice to call or send a note to those other men that have gone out of their way to do fatherly things with you or someone else who needed it.

It will do you good to say it, and you don’t know how much they might need to hear it.

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