Saturday, June 16, 2007

In Praise of Dad

Being a dad and having a dad is a privileged to position; to reflect on his fathering me and engage in my fathering our three. Dad is my constant point of reference from my earlies recollection. He set the standard that I assumed was immutably true, like how a vacation should really be taken (one month, on a river, in Northern Michigan with kerosene lamps). He set our attitude about weather (it's always good, it's just what you wear). He set my attitude about sickness (think positively, it will go away, have some 7-up and get sleep).
After accepting Christ, he set my reading list (aKempis, Bonhoeffer, C.S. Lewis, Elton Trueblood, D.T. Niles, Leslie Newbigen and too many to recall here). He loved to read and hated to fish or play golf (I'm just now learning...again..to play). Football was something to be watched with others so you can yell for the good guys in moral combat (he developed long reasons why some teams were inherently good or irreparably bad ...Green Bay Packers were always forces for virtue). He explained to me how the Superbowl really was a lectionary event, thus cancelling all church services Sunday nights. He has never missed a Super Bowl since they began. He set my understanding of time (mornings are better than evenings and read for at least one hour per/day in devotional concentration...often more). He always had an open door or phone for us (I was never put on hold or told that this was not a good time). He taught me how to shoot guns and respect them, though we never hunted. He modelled for me the virtue of curiosity. He passed on to me a deep distrust of elites, clans, clubs, cliques, secret societies, and dynasties. Hundreds of times he told me that we Johnsons were not pure-breads, but belonged to the ordinary class of cats and dogs. Never forget your poor immigrant roots and stand up for the rights of the underdogs. As a little boy he held my hand as we walked into the St. Paul Cathedral for a community mass after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. He introduced our whole family to his circle of friends, one of whom was the Rev. Dr. James Forbes, who stayed in our home (both as a child and later in Indiana with my family).
Wherever I look in my life, I see his fingerprints visible and beautiful.
Thanks Dad!


At 3:36 AM , Blogger John Rodkey said...

That is high praise indeed: I wish I were privileged to know your dad. Thanks for posting your thoughts.


At 12:09 PM , Blogger simplicity said...

What an honest and touching tribute to your father Don. Thanks for sharing.

I was thinking of you and missing you at Salem yesterday.


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