When I was 4, I decided I wanted to learn to pray. I think I also believed I was inviting Jesus into my heart, but I'm pretty sure He was already at work there, and that the moment of kneeling by the couch with my parents is more momentous as the beginning of my prayer life.
At age 13, I was put in the driver's seat of the family's 12-passenger van (containing younger siblings), shown the gas and brake pedals, and told to drive the van from the barnyard, across the bridge and up the curving driveway to the house. No adults were in the vehicle with me. Only crying children. It's no wonder I didn't do so well. Yet I did learn to drive.
Year after year until I got the hang of it, someone repeatedly took the life jacket off me, took me into waist-or-shoulder-deep water and demonstrated the breast stroke and how to float. And sometimes unpredictably picked me up and threw me into water that I knew was almost too deep for me, and waited until I came up spluttering. And taught me to dive.
He taught me many things I wanted to learn. He taught me others I wanted nothing to do with. And he taught me some that I'd never even considered doing (Stick welding? Ok, sure, I guess I'd like to learn).
The example of persistent hard work is one I will always remember: a solid work ethic, provision for our family, and a dislike of being idle. I'm grateful for my dad's example, and for all the times that I've been helped and prodded to do more.
Happy Father's Day.