‘The righteous man walks in integrity; his children are blessed after him’ (Proverbs 20:7 NKJV)
If he was still alive, we’d have celebrated my father’s 80th birthday last week. I thought about him on his birthday and gave thanks to God for his life. I called my Mum to see if she was ok and I read a few pages from his autobiography about his childhood memories of the Second World War to my two youngest children at breakfast. David, our youngest was just a baby when he died and so doesn’t remember him.
But I remember him. He died nearly ten years ago now, but there’s much that I still recollect about his life. I recall his gentle but clear leadership. He had that rare blend of humility and authority that I find so effective and attractive. I remember his funny ways, like forgetting the punch-line of jokes. And his daily rituals of cleaning his shoes and eating a spoonful of bran every morning which looked to me like horse-food! But most of all I simply remember him as my dad – as someone who played cricket with me and my brothers in the garden, who asked about my day at mealtimes, who encouraged me to reach for my best and who prayed for us every day.
No person is perfect. Not my dad, nor me.
No father is perfect. Not my dad, nor me.
No leader is perfect. Not my dad, nor me.
But I think that my father, Richard William Porter was pretty good. That’s why I’m not embarrassed to be grateful for his life. For all he invested in me. And for the legacy of Christian faith and the kind fathering which he passed on to me. I am challenged to do the same.
Lovely reflection Matthew – similar thoughts about my own father who died 13 years ago….and crucial line about the value of ‘investing in our children’
Thank you Matthew for that. We too have fond memories of your dad, especially on the beach in Jersey. Do you remember how you 3 older boys used to argue about which of you could take the deckchairs back and get the money?! We too were blessed to know him.
I found your reflection on your father and the role of fathering moving, beautiful and poignant. Thank you for sharing your memories and how you are passing on memories to your family’s next generation, and for reminding me of the importance of reflecting on and praying for family. Your shoes image accompanying your words made me think about how I sometimes feel that the shoes of previous generations are too big to fill, but you text then reminded me that God gives us our own shoes, we are not filling other peoples (i have no idea if that works as an analogy theologically!