May brought us graduations and Mother’s Day. Now June is a time of celebration: There is a day for fathers, #Juneteenth, gardens are planted, schools get out, the days get longer, and summer officially begins. This is Dad’s favorite time of year, and in honor of this national holiday for fathers and in celebration of fatherhood, I thought I’d share a few life lessons I learned from him. And to all the dad’s out there, Happy Father’s Day!

  1. Work Hard
    Dad is one of the most hard-working men I know. Prior to his retirement, he often worked 50-60 hour weeks, and that was Monday through Friday. His first job paid the bills, while his second or third job paid for toys, vacations, and dreams. His message was clear: “…with a little determination and a lot of hard work, you can do anything and be anything you want to be.”
  2. Pursue Your Dreams
    Dad gave me my dreamer’s heart and assured me that if there is something I really want, I should never turn my back on it. Even when one of those dreams took me 2,000 miles away from him to live in Gunnison Colorado, he supported me, believed in me, and respected my dreams.
  3. Show Up
    I honestly don’t know how he did it. Regardless of how many hours Dad worked – on the job, the yard, the house, the boat, and the pool – he always showed up. Family was his priority and he made it to a majority of my soccer and softball games and track events and to Sister’s band performances and tennis matches. Not to mention he was home for our family dinner most nights of the week.
  4. Encourage Others
    While Sister and I were away at college, five years in total, Dad sent each of us a weekly card, writing his own words of encouragement on every single one. “We’re proud of you,” “Keep your chin up,” “We believe in you,” “Keep smiling,” and “Hang in there and everything will come your way” were common themes. His encouragement spread to our friends, as he spent countless hours teaching us all how to water-ski, cheering us on every step of the way.
  5. Do Your Own Thinking
    I still tease Dad about this one. His advice echoes in my mind on so many occasions. This was more than a simple request not to follow the crowd. It was about independence and the ability to accomplish any dream and goal as long as I put my mind to it.
  6. Food Tastes Best When You Grow it Yourself
    Every Spring, Dad spends hours preparing, planting, nurturing, and harvesting a garden. As a child, I would trail behind him as he rototilled. I felt the need to “rescue” worms as he uncovered them. (I may have even brought them to the dinner table in my pocket. How did he know?) These days, we both still enjoy lettuce, tomatoes, and green beans fresh from the garden to the table. Food you’ve grown yourself always tastes best!
  7. Nature Brings Perspective
    From sunrise Easter services on the hill to camping and hiking in the Adirondacks, somehow God always seems closer in the mountains, on the lake, or anywhere outdoors. We enjoy days of boating where we feel the sun and the wind on our face while we take in the beauty of blue skies, crystal clear waters, prestigious mountains, and stunning sunsets. All the world’s problems disappeared in nature, or at the very least, our very own.
  8. Time is More Precious Than Money
    As a child, I made a lot of my own gifts including a “Please Stop Smoking” poster and a “Tootin’ Truck driver” Christmas tree ornament. As I got older and asked Dad what he wanted, his reply was “just you.” Spending excess or going into debt is never required. Just come home and give me your time. 
  9. When You’re Feeling Blue, Get Busy
    When I was far away from home and feeling lonely and homesick, Dad’s voice of experience and a bit of tough love taught me how to improve my mood: “You need to get your act together. You’ve got to get out and make some new friends. Take walks, go jogging, join a club… do what you have to in order to get your mind off home. You could even study extra hard. I’ve been through it myself.” Indeed, he had. In the Army, he spent a year straight away from home and couldn’t even make a phone call.
  10. Unconditional Love
    Dad doesn’t always agree with my decisions, but he never judges them or me. He supports me 100%, reminding me that I will never be a disappointment to him. He stands by me no matter what. He’ll always love me.

Dad taught me to drive, mow the lawn, paint, spackle, dig a basement, buy a car, water ski, play ball, pitch a tent, plant a garden, and ride a bike. He drove me home from Colorado, walked me down the aisle, and provided endless hugs through my divorce. He rejoiced with me when I found true love, passion, and purpose. For all this and more he supports me in joy, celebration, and sorrow. No matter what the goal, dream, or challenge I’m facing, it is his voice that I hear saying, “You can do this. I believe in you.”

To all the great dads out there including mine, Happy Father’s Day.







Book Cover: Raging Love, An Athlete's Journey to Self-Validation and Purpose by Jim and Lori Ann KingMemorable Gifts for Dad

Father’s Day is right around the corner, so our publisher selected several books, including Raging Love to present to you that would make memorable gifts for the dad in your life (or a father figure). Let’s take a look at what they are all about:

Memorable Gifts for the Dad in Your Life

Did you Know?

The nation’s first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in the state of Washington. However, it was not until 1972—58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official—that the day honoring fathers became a national holiday in the United States.

Although it’s not recognized as a federal holiday, Father’s Day is celebrated each year on the third Sunday in June.

Best Corny Dad Jokes

{ Originally posted on Country Living ]

  • “I’m afraid for the calendar. Its days are numbered.”
  • “My wife said I should do lunges to stay in shape. That would be a big step forward.”
  • “Why do fathers take an extra pair of socks when they go golfing?” “In case they get a hole in one!”
  • “Singing in the shower is fun until you get soap in your mouth. Then it’s a soap opera.”
  • “What do a tick and the Eiffel Tower have in common?” “They’re both Paris sites.”
  • “What do you call a fish wearing a bowtie?” “Sofishticated.”
  • “How do you follow Will Smith in the snow?” “You follow the fresh prints.”
  • “If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?” “Pilgrims.”
  • “I thought the dryer was shrinking my clothes. Turns out it was the refrigerator all along.”
  • “How does dry skin affect you at work?” “You don’t have any elbow grease to put into it.”


Additional Reading:

From my blog: