I wasn't more than six years old when I began noticing for the first time bruises on my mother. During the next few years there where injuries, sores, and missing teeth mom tried to conceal as best she could. However, we did notice, and as siblings we still talk about it occasionally even today. It was during years six to sixteen that I made up my mind, "I would never ever be that kind of man!"
Dad disappeared and reappeared off and on through the years reinforcing my determination to be different. One particular day, during the summer while walking bare foot in cutoff jeans down West Broadway in North Minneapolis, I peered into a cafe window. And, there he was, my dad with some of his buddies. He had long ago moved out of the house, and as it was a Sunday dad usually golfed with his buddies. Waiting patiently for him, he finally came through the door and noticed me standing there on the sidewalk. He smiled and bragged to his buddies, "Hey, this is my son!" And, with that he put a quarter in my hand scurrying off with his friends to golf. I made up my mind, "I would never ever be that kind of man!"
Fast forward, the year was 1974. We played a football game against Blake High School one particular Saturday. It was on that day playing the fullback position, I scored three touch downs, hum . . . maybe four; my mind doesn't quite remember. Dad, worked just twenty minutes away, but didn't find time to make it to my game. In fact, of every sport I played no one ever sat in the stands to watch me play. I made up my mind, "I would never be that kind of man!"
At a very young age I determined in my heart that this husband and father would not repeat what I witnessed over and over again. To the best of my ability I wanted my children to see a man who desperately loved their mother, and spent plenty of time listening to their needs. As a father of three sons, I taught my sons how to hit a ball, how to hit the target, how to hit the mark, and how to hit a baseball. And, I made sure to teach them how to not to hit a woman. I became the opposite of what I disdained.
In 2005, two of my sons graduated from the same university on the same day; one with his Bachelor's Degree and the other with a Masters. Seats were reserved and promises made. However, not unexpected by this father, the grandfather of my sons never showed up. My sons looked me in the eyes and said, "Thanks for not being that kind of dad."
I understood that day forty-seven years into my life that my pain and disdain became my sons joy. By being present at almost every game my sons participated in I was not that kind of man. By being available when my sons needed to talk, I was not that kind of man. By being faithful to their mother loving her and valuing her above all else, I was not that kind of man. And today, my disdain sees three sons who deeply loved their wives, and are amazing fathers. They too will never be that man!
Part One: Find Good Remember Good
Don was born in North Minneapolis, Minnesota. Having served twenty-two years in South Africa as missionaries with his wife Kathy, and eight years pastoring in the United States, he shares unique perspectives about life, family, relationships, and ministry.