The Lessons My Dad Taught Me

Written by Stonebriar Community Church Family Ministry Pastor Dave Carl


Both of my parents passed away this time last year. Having my first Mother’s Day and Father’s Day without them this year, I have understandably been thinking a lot about their legacy to me and my family. With Father’s Day upon us, I want to focus on what I learned from my dad.

My dad did not write a journal—he built stuff. This is in many ways a journal for the next several generations. He made stuff out of metal. He really did blacksmith work, forge and anvil kind of stuff. Fortunately, he lived outside the city, so his neighbors did not have to endure full days of hammering on an anvil. My dad also made stuff out of wood. For Christmas one year, all the kids and grandkids in my family  received a wooden treasure chest carefully made for the people my dad loved. I occasionally look around my home and see the stuff my dad made; it is like a wood and metal version of his personal journal. He loved us, and he showed us in the stuff he built. He made up the plans, selected the material, and crafted it together in his shop. He was famous for over-building stuff. All us kids have stuff that takes two varsity team linebackers to move. My dad’s love for us has weight to it.

Helpful hint: If I ever ask you to help me move—make other plans quickly. It’s gonna be hard on your back getting all this stuff in a truck.

I learned other stuff from my dad. He worked every day like it was his mission. Lazy was a very bad word in my home growing up. I learned that dads, and men in general, work and have fun doing it. We worked in the yard every Saturday morning. I did not like it. I liked it better when he let me wear leather work gloves three sizes too large for me. He also let me hang a hunting knife on my belt that wrapped around my eight-year-old waist. I felt like Daniel Boone, and I liked it. After working for hours on a large yard, my dad would wash off the patio with the garden hose. This was back in the mid 1960’s when smoking in airplanes, driving without seat belts, and washing off your patio with the garden hose were each an acceptable practice. This washing off of grass cuttings almost always resulted in a full-blown water fight between my dad and his kids. He taught me to make work fun if you can.

Along with building and working, my dad left us all with another legacy. He was a Christian man. Not showy to be sure, but he read his Bible every evening, and we all knew it. From him, I learned Christian men are interested in what God says about anything. When he prayed at every meal, it would come out in Thee’s and Thou’s. I was a teenager before I realized my dad prayed in the King James Version. I learned Christian men talk to God as a matter of course. He would not cheat on anything, and he sacrificed for us all—all the time. Christian men take care of others past the point of hurting. There are other men like this in my life, men who are real men and in a wide variety of ways, and they have all left their mark on me.

I have been the apprentice of perhaps twenty men in my lifetime. Jeff inspired me to love God more. Reiner taught me to do the right thing even when no one is looking. Mike taught me to build stuff carefully, so it would outlive the pyramids. Pastor Fred taught me to be kind at all costs, and some camp counselor I had going into the third grade who I only knew as “Crazy Hawk” taught me how effective it can be to teach third grade boys a Bible story in a funny and memorable way. I want to be more like all of these men. You know men like this. When you are working with them, you want to be more like them. You lift heavy things a little higher, you take God more seriously, and you take care of others with more gusto. Thanks, Dad. Thanks to all those men who took time with me. Thanks to all the men out there in my church and churches around the world who are doing this kind of manly ministry. We need more men like this, and just to make it all a little more fun, we need some of you to start a really raucous water fight when the work is done.

Happy Father’s Day.

Dave Carl is the Family Ministry Pastor at Stonebriar Community Church and is responsible for the ministry focusing on children birth through graduation and the parents who love them. With a ministry philosophy based on Luke 10:27, his primary focus is to give parents the skills to raise kids who truly love Jesus and want to serve others. Dave has a passion for ministering to families in crisis in our community. He has spent several years pouring into fathers and husbands and helping them learn that they need community, were designed to guard and protect, and that they really can be the spiritual leaders of their family.

Dave and his wife of 20 plus years, Cathy, have two adult children and one in high school.  They recently became grandparents for the first time and are completely in love. Dave is an avid woodworker and loves to write. He sees all stories in the form of pictures in his head, and he would love to connect with you!

3 thoughts on “The Lessons My Dad Taught Me

  1. Great picture of your dad and those who trained you to be a trainer of many. Grateful for you and Cathy!

  2. Paster David Carl, I have been searching for how to connect with the director of Paws and Tales and I had to connect many dots to get here 🙂 I am glad I found a way to send you a direct message and I pray you receive this.

    I bless God for you. You will never know how many lives your story telling through Paws and Tales has changed but I can testify to the lives of my daughters and myself. My daughters have listened to Paws and tales for many years. They are now ages 16, 14 and 9 and are still replaying the same Paws and Tales episodes. They refer to the spiritual lessons of Paws and tales very frequently in their discussions and paint visual lessons from the bible using the stories of paws and tales. Even till now, there is no week that a Paws and tales radio episode is not on in the iPad or phone. We live in NJ and are a part of the Times Square Church Ministry. This is just to tell you how far reaching the power of God through your ministry of Paws and Tales has travelled to reach us.

    I pray that God’s blessing and Grace continually abide with you and your team. May he continualy reward you sir and the team you worked with to create these timeless gems. They have and keep watering our lives. I wonder if the Lord is asking you to tell new stories. We would love to sow into this ministry. There are not enough stories out there that shed light into the hearts and minds of our children in the nation and would love to help support this in any way we can by God’s grace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *