Five gifts from my father

My dad learned to play tennis when he started working at Victor Sports, Incorporated, distributor of TA Davis tennis racquets and Victor Imperial gut strings. He’s the kind of guy for whom nothing is “just a job;” it’s something you believe in and invest yourself in. My whole family grew up playing tennis with Davis racquets.

1. Applicable Wisdom

Whether I need a fresh perspective on an annoying relationship or practical help understanding a business problem, my dad is able to give sound counsel without sounding paternalistic. I still turn to him when I need advice, and I still rely on classic bits of wisdom from my growing-up years, including:

  • “Garbage in, garbage out.”
  • “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
  • “Take what you eat and eat what you take.”
  • “Nobody likes a smart-alec.”
  • “Life is not fair.”

2. Good-natured Humor

My dad is a funny guy. Not “stand-up comedian” funny, but “make people smile” funny. He enjoys a clever turn of phrase, an ironic observation, and good-natured ribbing. And he always manages to use humor to make people feel better about themselves and about life.

3. Willingness to Learn

For most of my childhood, my dad worked for Victor Sports, Inc. of Chicago. He was the Vice President of International Sales, and whenever he came home from an international business trip, he brought us fascinating souvenirs, including the tiny soaps from his hotels, which we loved! My dad was good at sales then (and he’s good at his ministry job now) because he respects people and considers them interesting. He listens and remembers. He’s always willing to meet new friends, try new foods, explore new locations, learn new things. That combination of confidence and humility set the tone for our whole family.

4. Quiet Generosity

My dad is as generous with his time as he is with his resources. I know of situations from many years ago, when he did things like secretly dropping off groceries for a family in need, or anonymously paying bills for people who were struggling. I’m sure he continues to commit incognito kindnesses today. He’s been a blessing to countless people facing a variety of material needs, but the real blessing is that he manages to help without hurting. His good-natured humor and genuine respect leave people feeling better about themselves. That’s a gift.

5. Worthy Example

A lot of people tell me I’m a lot like my dad, and I always consider that a profound compliment. If I can internalize the gifts he has given me, I’ll find myself surrounded by beautiful people, enriched by interesting experiences, and able to face disappointment with optimism. As I said in my Mothers Day blog, in all the most important ways, I want to follow in my dad’s footsteps. I do not take his example for granted.

In the Bible, God tells his people, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6–7) That’s the kind of faith my dad has—not just talked, but lived. I thank God for that legacy.

Happy Fathers Day, Dad. Thank you for everything you do, and everything you are!


Need help putting your thoughts about your father into words? Email me, and I’ll see if I can help!

10 thoughts on “Five gifts from my father”

  1. Your dad has always been very conscious of balancing his time between his work, his family and his church; making sure that none of the three get slighted. Thank you, dear.

  2. Nicely said, Mel. I could not have expressed things so eloquently. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. We love you.

  3. Nice article about Mr. Jongsma. He used to tell me, too, that nobody likes a smart-alec :) Miss seeing him at Hammond…

  4. Thanks for articulating this so well! I would echo that he is always generous, with his time, support, humor & love – to his immediate family, also to those of us in the extended family & others!!! Thanks for reminding all of us about our blessings. As you have so much of your dad in you, I think your dad has alot of HIS dad in him, too. God is faithful throught the generations!

  5. Melanie, it was an honor to work with your Dad on the art project for Living Springs Community Church. You have shared some insight as to why your Dad was so wonderful to work with. You all are blessed to have him in your lives. Thanks for sharing in this way.

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