This Sunday, we honor the men who are the originators, founders, creators, authors, and architects of our lives ... fathers! So we asked givers and friends of the NCF family around the country one simple question: "What's the best gift your dad ever gave you?" We hope you enjoy their heartfelt tributes as you celebrate or remember your dad this weekend. What's the best gift your father ever gave you?
In honor of his dad, Marvin
Pictured together above
For my high school graduation, my dad gave me all the books, quotes, and articles that had most impacted him throughout his life. Each year I grow more and more thankful for that gift, especially during college, which was a very formative time. I have been impacted by seeing my dad's continual refinement over the years, and it taught me much about the Lord's renewing mercies and about the active work of the Holy Spirit. These works of literature have become pivotal in my own life, but also have opened up avenues for spiritual discussions with my greater family, friends, and peers.
In memory of her dad, Charles
From childhood throughout my life, I watched my father model generosity and the love for Christ up to his time of death. He provided well for our family and always had enough for others. Our home was open to anyone who needed help and people always lived with us when they fell on hard times. Neighbors would come for sugar and bread from my house, and my father would give money to family members and neighbors to help them in crisis and never ask for it back. Growing up, seeing my parents model what it meant to help others led me to also want to do the same. I started investing in the lives of young moms-to-be with nowhere to go, or no one to turn to. I would bring them to my home and care for them when they were in a crisis due to pregnancy and other issues. Because of my father’s generosity, I became the mom for many, and I am the fruit of his giving.
In memory of his dad, Roberto
The best gift my dad ever gave me was that he taught me how to fish in life, and not only did he prepare me for everyday life, but also for the business world. I am who I am today because of my father and all the lessons he taught me along the way. He wasn’t only my father, but my mentor and best friend, and my hunting and fishing partner.
In honor of his dad, Randy
What is the best gift your dad ever gave you is such a difficult question to answer, because my dad is the most giving and generous person I know. I’ve received countless gifts from him through the years: my first basketball, my first bike, my first car, a college education at the greatest school in America (Auburn University), money during hard times ... but the greatest gift he’s given me is the way he has consistently modeled what it means to be a Godly, loving father and husband.
As a father, he has provided security, unconditional love, wisdom, and discipline, all while pointing to Jesus. As a husband, I’ve observed him nurture and model a relationship with my mom that is selfless and sacrificial, but also fun and full of love. Not only has my life been impacted, but my children have been positively impacted as well by my dad’s commitment to loving Jesus and others well.
In memory of his dad, Tony
(Boca Raton, FL)
The best gift that my father gave me was an example of both a work ethic and generosity. Dad insisted that I “outwork” my peers. He required me to: open and close plants, learn key trades such as carpentry, welding, hydraulics, and fiberglass molding before moving into an office position ... and only ask others to do that which I was willing to do myself, which meant that I cleaned the offices and toilets at the plant to earn money for gas and entertainment. It was annoying at the time, but now I fully understand and appreciate his wisdom, because his work ethic paid off. Dad was able to build a sizable company and then model generosity by giving almost all of it away before he passed at age 90. But dad also gave something else away: he gave me the gift of a wonderful legacy for which I am incredibly thankful.
In honor of her husband, Kwabena
The best gift my husband has given us is his generosity. Generosity is the DNA of Kwabena’s character, and he definitely ensures the family has the same makeup. Kwabena has made sure that our children (ages 10, 4, 3, & 1) understand the meaning of giving. The children will never go to church without asking for offering. They have to be able to give at church at any cost! And if they have been given any money or earned an allowance, they already know to put aside their tithes. Routinely, we give to different organizations to help others in need, and the kids are a part of this. They all willingly give away their toys and clothes without a gripe.
The next generosity project Kwabena has for the family is in the works. The kids have helped with moving many items on several occasions into a storage room, and they know all these items we are gathering and collecting are to bless someone in a huge way, and they are super excited! Needless to say, Kwabena’s generosity is contagious to us all, and it’s a reflection of God’s love in all of us.
In memory of his dad, William
My dad was born in 1913 and grew up on a tobacco farm in southern Virginia. Stewardship began at an early age as everything on the farm had a purpose or else it wasn’t kept around. Resources were sparse, so no waste. There was no electricity, no telephone, and the battery powered radio was only used one hour a week to listen to the Grand ‘Ol Opry.
When dad was in his early twenties, he left the farm, but he never forgot his roots, and when I was old enough, he would send me to the farm each summer. One day I complained that going to the farm was okay, but my grandpa sure didn’t have the things we had in the city, but he seemed happy there. My dad’s reply was a memory that I have come to understand as I get older. He said the reason his dad was happy was because he understood that it’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you have. A stewardship lesson for us all!
Kaley, Will, and Carter Chapman
In honor of their dad, Steve
The best gift our dad gave us was:
Will (age 16): A trip with our family to Hawaii
Kaley (age 15): His love
Carter (age 10): My phone
In honor of her husband, CJ
The best gift CJ has given our children is the freedom to learn through failure. I think he's developed this mindset through his work in player development, and we adopted it as a part of our parenting style. The freedom to not always have the right answers and actions has given way to deeper understanding and relationship with our kids.
H. Collins Forman Jr.
In honor of his dad, Hamilton
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
My father gave me himself, and he gave me his time. He tried to teach me all the lessons his father had taught him from our forebearers before us, and all the lessons that he had learned by making mistakes and correct decisions himself. He passed on his faith to me and his worldview. He passed on his love of life, of family, of good food, travel, history, the arts, reading, and all the things that make our earthly lives full. He passed on a life-long love of learning. He gave me the confidence to be myself as a magnificent child of God. My father gave me his best so that I could pass on the lessons he taught me to my daughters and sons.
In honor of her dad, Bob
(St. Petersburg, FL)
The best gift Dad has ever given me were letters in college. I never knew when I was getting one, but he would send them periodically. The letters were short and uplifting ... reminding me that he was thinking about me and loved me. I have kept every single one, and I don't think I would have made it through life at that point in time if he hadn't sent them.
In honor of her dad, Stephan
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
My relationship with Jesus was nonexistent in my high school years. I didn’t know God very well at all, let alone know God as my Father. Fortunately for me, I was blessed with a God-honoring and God-fearing earthly dad. However, when I was in high school I wasn’t interested in the things that made him like Jesus. Frankly, it annoyed me. Most days I hated him.
I’ll always remember one time in particular. I had done something unforgivable. Lied, snuck around, lied again, drank, partied, you name it – I did it – but this time I got caught. I was anxiously waiting for him to get home and give me my punishment. I sat in my usual spot on the bed while he sat in his recliner. He closed his computer and began with the lecture. I tuned out for most of the 45-minute talk. Then, he defined what “justification” means. He put it in the simplest terms: “Just as if it never happened,” he said. I didn’t know where he was going with this, but he had my attention now.
“So, your punishment?”
“Finally...” I thought.
I couldn’t believe what came out of his mouth. I was given grace, when I least deserved it. I wouldn’t have remembered how long I was grounded for, but this I would remember for the rest of my life. It cracked my hardened heart as tears filled my eyes. I knew I didn’t earn it, I knew he wasn’t being “soft." He was being Jesus.
I’ll never fully understand the luxury I was given as a child, to be able to follow after a father who follows after God.
Josiah and Shekina Duffin
In honor of their dad, George
The best gift our dad gave us was:
Josiah (age 13): The gift of a dad. Many kids do not have a father, and I am grateful for him being my father.
Shekinah (age 16): Our dog, Roxy, was the best gift he ever gave us.
Rose Ann Lovell
In memory of her dad, Ray
(Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
The best gift my Dad ever gave me was the God-honoring principled and gracious example of the way he lived his life ... the way he walked it out every day ... decade after decade. He had a great respect for money. He was seriously frugal and thrifty, but he was always poised to be generous: open hands, giving back, always saying "thank you" to those who served him. Even at the end of his God-honoring life, he so wanted to “tip” the nursing staff that attended to him in the hospital. Blessed am I to have had such a remarkable earthly father.
To all the generous dads out there, Happy Father's Day from the NCF team!