Don’t Save Your Thanks for Thanksgiving!

My daughter Leigh invited me for Father’s Day with her husband, daughters, and his parents and family. I was so glad that I got to go because I was able to witness a wonderful Kirkpatrick tradition.

Before the Father’s Day meal, we all held hands and the oldest grandson prayed for the family and the meal. That’s not unusual for most households. But what happened afterward was: each father in the room was told by his children why they were thankful for him.

The son-in-law was first. Comments ranged from “You don’t mind taking me to practice early every morning.” to “You trust us enough to let us have our own guns.” and “I am thankful for you dropping me off and picking me up from volleyball practice every day.”

Then the son received comments from his daughters: “I am thankful that you make us pancakes when you are home.” was followed with one being thankful that Daddy bought them a swimming pool and the youngest that he read her Bible stories at bed time.

I smiled as I thought “How precious are these children and their comments. They understand that their fathers go above and beyond to take care of them.” But the best was yet to come. It was now time for Dad/Grandpa to hear why his children and son-in-law were thankful for him.

His daughter turned to him and spoke quietly and confidently: “Dad, you taught us kids such a Christian work ethic. We knew by watching you how we needed to live.” Her husband was next: “I am thankful for you and I call you Dad because you welcomed me into this family when I married your daughter. You have treated me like a son.”

Then the son spoke up: “You have always been a Godly example for me. I knew how to live my life because you were always an example in yours.” And the daughter-in-law: “I am thankful that you raised my husband to know the Lord. I have a Godly husband and father for our children because of you.”

There are always contests in churches across the U.S. on Father’s Day. They might include “father with the most grandchildren” or “dad who played ball with his son in the last week.” But none of those awards could come close to the honor that Gary Kirkpatrick received from his family on Father’s Day, 2012.

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