Why I Stayed Out of Trouble"

(In memory of Ralph F. Perry 1914-1973)
(A Tribute to Daddy)

Why is it that some kids grow up and stay out of trouble
and others are in the middle of it?
As I pondered this, I believe that a lot has to do with parenting
and for me it had a lot to do with Daddy.

One of the things Daddy often said to me during my childhood
was, “You want to go with me?”  It sounds like
such a common statement but when you think about it,
it’s a  wonderful compliment, “Come, go with me.”
It made a little girl feel very special.
Wherever Daddy went, I knew that I was welcome to go.
It didn’t  matter the destination…..what mattered
was that he wanted me around.
There were many years of visits to relatives, trips to town,
business trips, or “let’s go for a ride”.

As I got older and entered the teen years,
Daddy was the one who took my friends and I
wherever we wanted to go.  He must have waited hours
at the bowling alley for me while I cruised the
courthouse square with my friends.  He went to all my ball games,
band practices, and horse shows.  The thing I look back and see
is that he didn’t do it out of duty.  He really enjoyed it.
He loved being involved in my life and he enjoyed
the people that he came in contact with through these activities.

Daddy loved life and had a wonderful sense of humor.
He loved jokes and I remember how we used to go
to the grocery store and while a customer would be looking away
from his shopping cart,
Daddy would put something in their cart.  He would usually
put in something completely weird or out of character
for the person shopping.  He would watch them
go up to the check out counter and then as they took things out
of their shopping cart, he would watch the incredulous looks
on their faces as they saw perhaps mouse traps
or a bathroom plunger.  It is no wonder
that all of my family laugh and love jokes so much.

All of this is to say that the bonding between father and daughter
was so strong that it caused me to think twice about my actions.
I wanted to please my Daddy and I didn’t want to do
anything that would disappoint him.

I did my share of wrong things and making unwise choices
but it was because of my father’s example and the relationship
that I had with him that helped me escape many of the even
life threatening problems that I see entangling some young
people today.  As a teen, I remember one instance
of being in a place where I had been forbidden to go.
I found myself looking over my shoulder
and thinking, “What would Daddy say?”  or
“What if someone sees me here and tells Daddy”.
The discomfort was so strong that I didn’t
enjoy being there at all and I left that place as quickly as possible.

I believe the reason that I stayed out of trouble was in one
word, “relationship”. I would like to say that I was simply a good
Christian girl but that would not be true.  You see,
being very young, I hadn't learned to walk with God yet,
but I had learned to walk with Daddy.
He had taught me right from wrong.  I knew what he wanted
me to do  and what he didn’t want me to do, but most of all
I knew beyond all doubt that he loved me.

Until Daddy was dying of terminal cancer, I never heard
the words, “I love you”.  When the end was nearing,
he felt an urgency to tell us and to be sure that we all knew
that he loved us  before he left this world.
Although it was nice to hear the words,
it wasn't any secret.  We had known it all along by his
actions…..the arm around the shoulder, the way he joked with us,
the pat on the back, the way he looked proud of us and
talked proud of us to others.  One fond memory I have is
of overhearing Daddy talking to his friend about me
and telling him how well I could clean the house and I was
only eleven years old.  You can bet I cleaned the house
better and more often after that.

What makes a good father?  I believe it’s
spelled R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N-S-H-I-P.  To build that kind
of relationship means spending time together.
This kind of relationship cannot be faked.
It must be real.  It’s the security of “knowing” you are loved.
Daddy loved me so much that I believe I really thought
that he loved me more than anyone else.
I knew he would die for me.
That's how he made me feel.  You see,
he made my mother and my brother feel that way too.
That's how unconditional love works…..
being loved completely, no matter what.

Because I had that strong relationship with my father,
it made it easy for me to love my Heavenly Father because
I already knew what unconditional love was  about.
I learned that my Heavenly Father loved me so much
that he sent his only Son into the world to take my sin away.
He actually did die for me.  God would have done that
if I had been the only one in the world….
He would do it for you if you were the only one in the world.
Again, that unconditional, unfailing love…….

Happy Father’s Day!

Pamela R. Blaine
copyright, June 17, 2000

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