Posted by: bellissimanh | August 23, 2009

Legacy of Love

Today is a day of celebration! It’s not only the day the Lord has made, but it’s also the day the Lord made my Dad! 🙂 Happy Birthday, Daddy! I love you so much! 

I wrote the following to read at my Dad’s retirement party in 2001. If you know me at all, you’ll guess (correctly) that I didn’t make it through reading without crying and needing someone else to finish reading.  I still can’t make it through reading without crying. The words are every bit as true today (more so) than they were when I originally penned them. My father is a man with more integrity than anyone I’ve ever known. His servant’s heard is exceeded only by his love for the Lord… and they work in tandem with one another perfectly. I pray that every woman will find someone who will model for her the things my Dad did for me… someone who will mean all that he means to me.

 

 

Legacy of Love

            Biologically, any man can be a father, but it takes a man of strong character with an abundance of love to be a Dad.  I am blessed to have such a man as an integral part of my life.  My father, and all that he is, has contributed in large part to the person I am today—and I will be eternally grateful.

            My father gave twenty-five years of his life to teaching at the school district in my town.  His being a teacher at the school I attended meant that he was always nearby, and always knew everything.  The one or two times I misbehaved during my academic days, there was no hiding it from the omniscient Mr. Aron.  Aside from his “secret sources”, Dad gave new meaning to the phrase “eyes in the back of my head”.  I still find myself looking for them from time to time.  It wasn’t always easy being John Aron’s daughter.

            I always felt that being related to Dad meant being held to a higher standard of excellence than most.  People witnessed great things from him, and I assumed they’d expect the same from me, as he did.  Because of this, I was constantly striving for my best (and I still believe the only reason my “A” in his Eighth Grade Technology class wasn’t an “A+” is because he was afraid someone would cry “favoritism”—there can’t possibly be any other explanation).

            My dad never was crazy about any of the boys I took a liking to back then (okay, okay…maybe I didn’t make the best choices).  I think he was intimidating to those who knew him from school, and if that didn’t do it, throw in the “Your dad’s a preacher?” factor, and most of them ran scared.  It’s just as well though.  Over the years I’ve come to realize that his judgment when it came to those things was generally better than mine.  Nonetheless, it wasn’t always easy being John Aron’s daughter.

            Dad’s method of discipline was to make the punishment fit the crime.  This sometimes meant that if life was a bowl of cherries, I ended up with the pits.  If I got home two minutes after eleven o’clock on a Friday night, I sacrificed the next month’s worth of Friday nights to pay for it.  When I got a speeding ticket, I was told that I couldn’t drive for the next four months (until, of course, two weeks later, when Dad got pulled over for bearing down on his accelerator just a little too heavily).  Worse than the punishment meted out, however, was knowing that I had disappointed him.  Once glance at the sorrow in his eyes when I’d let him down was enough to reduce me to tears.  It wasn’t fear of punishment that made me cry, it was knowing that I’d broken his heart.  It wasn’t always easy being John Aron’s daughter.

            Dad has always been a kidder.  He has teased our entire family mercilessly for as long as I can remember.  Well known for his “tickle attacks” (which he now tortures my children with) and his sharp wit, he’s a worthy adversary for anyone willing to take him on in a verbal sparring match.  Add to that the fact that he never forgets the one thing you’d like him to forget, and you’re finished.

            Growing up, one of the things we did as a family on a regular basis was to sit around Dad, with his guitar in hand, and sing.  One night Mom and Dad launched into a song I hadn’t heard before.  As the words to the song played out, I began to cry; my five-year-old mind really believed that they were “leaving on a jet plane”.  To this day, I can’t listen to that song without getting weepy, and Dad just can’t seem to help breaking out into a chorus of it when he feels the urge to tease me about my oversensitive tendencies  (Isn’t senility supposed to be setting in one of these days?  Maybe then he’ll forget about it—no, probably not even then).  I’m telling you, it’s not always easy being John Aron’s daughter.

            While it hasn’t always been easy, let me tell you what it has been.  Being the daughter of John Aron has been the most rewarding experience of my life.  I have had the awesome privilege of being raised by a man with more patience, love, compassion, and integrity than anyone I’ve ever known.  While he encouraged me to learn from my mistakes, I also learned from his example.  I don’t remember my father ever earning my respect, he’s just always had it—and never once failed to prove himself worthy of it in my eyes.

            Dad taught me how to think for myself.  I couldn’t just ask him a question and expect an answer.  He would always answer questions with questions and if possible, make me figure it out on my own.  He allowed me to form my own opinions, encouraged that, and never looked down on me if my view happened to differ from his, as long as it was well thought out.

            My best is all he ever required of me.  He taught me to give whatever I did my all, and to never give up.  There have been more times than I care to remember when I have wanted to give up, but the drive he instilled in me, along with the knowledge that he was behind me, supporting me, has kept me pressing forward, regardless of the obstacles or circumstances surrounding me.

            Likewise, he has never given up on me—never lost faith in me, even during a point in my life when I was so far gone I’m sure he felt he didn’t even know me.  He loved me, prayed for me, and was waiting to embrace me with open arms when I found my way back home.  That’s true commitment, and I’ll never be able to express how much that meant to me, or how much I love him for it.

            Of all the things my father has passed on to me, the greatest by far is his faith in God.  It isn’t that he took me to Sunday School, or taught me the old hymns, or even that he helped me to memorize scripture.  It’s that the man lives his faith.  It permeates every aspect of his life, and you can see it in everything he does and says—in everything he is.  Dad is responsible for guiding me into a relationship with my Savior—saving my life—and that’s the greatest gift he could ever have given me.

            Thanks, Dad.  I love you.

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Responses

  1. Heather,

    What a beautiful piece! I’m sure that your Dad was touched deeply by it when you read it.

    I had a wonderful Daddy too. I miss him so much and the longer he is in heaven, the more I miss him. I know that I will see him again one day. Girls and their daddies have a very special bond. One that we typically do not have with our moms.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Leah

  2. Your Dad IS awesome!

  3. Heather,

    Your Dad is a great man of God. As I read what you wrote I thought, “I could have written almost the identical things about my Dad.” God has been so good to both of us – just wish my Dad was still around.


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