Last Sunday was Father’s Day. Family gatherings, personal visits, phone calls, greeting cards, text messages, emails — all brought expressions of love for or remembrances of our fathers.
This Sunday would be my father’s 104th birthday. He died New Year’s Day 1983 at the tender age of 66, way too young in the opinions of me, my mother, my siblings, other family members and friends.
Though far from perfect, the Christian values and old fashioned work ethic Dad imparted to me have had a lasting impact on my life. I am who I am largely because of Martin Herbert Otto Kieschnick.
Credit is also due to my dear mother Elda, who worked hard to raise her four children in tough economic times. At the same time she was actively involved in many other aspects of life.
Teachers molded and shaped my thinking and communication skills. Pastors and other church leaders were instrumental in spiritual growth and leadership development. So were the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and colleagues on The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Council of Presidents.
Yet it was my father who emphasized love for God and respect for authority. He also modeled the values of integrity, trustworthiness, initiative, Christian stewardship, critical thinking, honest work, faithfulness to wife and children, a sense of humor, and a love of outdoor cooking.
Dad was a straight shooter, insightful, relational, wisely understanding what kind of treatment each of his children needed and the right way to administer loving discipline to each of us.
It’s my thought that if the young or not so young men (and women) involved in recent non-peaceful protests, violent rioting, and foolishness like CHOP or CHAZ in Seattle would have had the blessing of a father like mine, those activities may very well not have occurred.
The lasting impact of a father’s love cannot be over-emphasized. The Bible has lots to say about this topic, including these passages:
“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.” Ps. 103:13
“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” Prov. 3:11-12
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Eph. 6:4
I thank God for my father, his love, and the lasting impact he had upon my life!