Top 10 Lessons from Dad – A Father’s Day Tribute

A lot of people think they have the best Dad in the world. Some only wish they could be so lucky. I don’t know if my Dad is the best man in the world, but I promise you he is the best man I have ever known. I don’t know anyone who is more intelligent, wise, trustworthy, and kind, or who lives his life with more integrity, character, and faith.  These are a few of the lessons I learned from Him.

1. Put God first in your life.

A lot of people like to throw those words around lightly.  Thankfully, my dad, Dr. Kenneth Eger, isn’t like a lot of people.  I’ve never seen him take a vacation from honoring God in prayer, fellowship, tithing, or service.

2. Learn from the mistakes of others.  

Safety first has always been Dad’s mantra, at work and at home. He was always telling us horror stories about the tragic misfortunes befalling those who carelessly ignored rules or sound advice.  The thing about his stories is that they were always true.  Like the guy on the college diving team that was horsing around with his buddies on the 20 meter platform and fell to his death while his father watched.  He was a highly-skilled athlete and so was able to maneuver his body back toward the water on the way down, but he didnt quite make it.  You can’t forget stories like that even when you want to, and I guess Dad knew his method was more effective than pointing to the “no horseplay” sign painted on the wall.  Many of the pitfalls I managed to avoid in life are thanks to those true stories.

3. Don’t look for the quick fix.

I remember the time I was in high school and wanted to drop some pounds.  I presented a 12-day crash diet I had found and pleaded with my folks to acquire all the necessary ingredients pronto.  Instead, the next day my dad handed me a membership card to the local Y.   He would support me fully to go swim, work out, do whatever I needed to reach my fitness goal, but he wanted me to think for the long-term.

4. Don’t be a quitter.  

I went out for the track team my freshman year.  I remember thinking the outfits looked cool and just followed my friends to the meeting. (That’s literally what I remember about that day, pretty sad.)  Returning home after practice a few days later, I slumped face-first on the couch.  “Dad, this track thing is HORRIBLE!  WE JUST RUN THE WHOLE TIME!   I want to QUIT!   (I know, I know, I was a brilliant kid, what can I say?)    You already know what Dad’s answer was to this one, but despite all the pain of sticking it out, I learned my lesson well.

5. This world is not your trash can.  

It always made me proud the way my Dad cared so much about taking care of the world we live in.  I can picture him going out of his way to throw away other people’s trash again and again.  Anytime he exited a place he had been (indoor or out), he left it looking better than when he arrived; to this day, I can’t walk past a piece of trash without stopping, and I always think of him.

6. Don’t be wasteful.

One of his famous lines at any restaurant buffet was “take what you want, but eat what you take.”   Dad has always believed in maximizing the value in each blessing; in addition, he always made an effort to fix broken things versus running out to replace them. Thankfully, he was and is very skilled at this task.

7. Be a good financial steward.

My dad taught us to make smart money choices (not that we always listened), but he regularly re-enforced the importance of saving, tithing, and giving. When I was in 3rd grade, our collaborative effort on a poster showing squirrels collecting acorns resulted in the 1st place prize in the state.  The headline was “saving a little many times, makes a lot.”

8. Always do your best.

That was our rule growing up in school.  It wasn’t just about getting straight As, it was about giving our best effort no matter what.

9.  Read to your kids so they will learn to love to read.   

Some of my best and earliest memories as a child included my Dad reading the Chronicles of Narnia books to my brother and me.  He’d sit on the floor while we sat in bed and bring the stories to life, always stopping at the worst-possible time.  Against our pleadings and at the climax of suspense, he’d force us to wait another night to hear the rest.  My love of reading has grown every year since.

10. Always seek and honor the truth.

Dad has always valued truth, and he taught us that your word matters big. He also taught us to dig and learn and find out what was true, to never accept things blindly but learn and discover for ourselves.  He encouraged us to ask questions and never took anything we asked lightly.  Sometimes, a few days would go by before I got an answer; then he would present an open book, with passages highlighted for review.  If you asked him anything about science, you would always get lot more than you bargained for. (My buddy John who once asked him about the difference between fission and fusion can attest to this fact – some of us thought good ole’ John was gone for good, ha.)  Thanks to his influence, I have never stopped seeking the truth and never will.

If I wrote about everything Dad has taught me, I would still be writing this time next year.  With these few that stand out, I wish my Dad and all the other wonderful Dads out there a very happy and Blessed Father’s Day.