It’s true. Front page news too. The official “Father of the Year” of 2002 lived in our home. He still lives with us in fact, and he is still “Father of the Year” to my children. A few days ago our family sat in a restaurant and recounted the story and just hooted about the whole episode-
Ah, good memories.
So, here goes the true story.
I was one of those moms who took all 4 of my children with me pretty much everywhere I went, including Wal-Mart. Our youngest, Adam, was still pretty young so I’m guessing that’s why it took me to the baby aisle right next to the shoes.
There it was.
A poster in the shoe department inviting children to write about their father. The best letter would be chosen and that father would win $50 of Wal Mart merchandise and a father/child picture would be put in the Seminole Sentinel, our local newspaper.
I can’t say that the prizes were the motivation for my children’s participation, but the chance to write about their awesome “Papa bear” was.
Cindy and Daniel did their own letter writing and Nathan says that I helped him a bit. The next time we were at Wal Mart, we dropped their letters in the box labeled for the event. The lady working in the shoe department was very happy to see our children participate. In just a few short days we would know who the winner was.
The day the contest winner was to be announced, I happened to be in Wal Mart again with my children and passed by the lady working in the shoe department. I stopped to chat with her a bit (not unusual in a small town WM) and I asked her how the contest was going and if there were a lot of letters coming in.
Then she told us something like this…
“Your children are the only ones who entered, so unless someone else enters, your children will win. Normally we would pick only one letter, but we will just include all of your children since they all wrote about the same daddy.”
I think we were all surprised and a bit pleased, but…
Just wait till Isaac finds out.
We hadn’t told him anything yet, so on the way home I just couldn’t help but laugh inside at the thought of my dear husband getting the phone call saying he was “Father of the Year” and getting his picture taken for the paper. He is not a “spotlight” kind of guy.
So I decided that I probably should alert him to the situation.
That conversation went kind of like this.
Me : “Honey, just as a little warning, you might be getting a call from Wal Mart today.”
Me: “Well, our children entered you in a contest for “Father of the Year” and since they are the only ones who entered so far, you have a good chance of winning. I was hoping that you would happily accept??”
He processed while I spoke.
…and next I mentioned the picture in the paper.
And I waited for a response.
Then, the man I love, surprised me and just agreed he would.
Then we both ended up in a fit of laughing. He even agreed to act surprised and honored when the call came.
And it did a few hours later.
Some very excited children went with us to Wal Mart that day. Proud that their daddy had won. Their picture was taken in the shoe aisle, the children helped Isaac pick out his gifts – a nice watch, a mini igloo, and flip flops were his $50 worth of prize merchandise. It was a nice way for our children to get him Father’s Day gifts. I can say it was a good memory, a treasured one.
And though it was kind of funny, I was proud of my little family. Is it possible to be proud and do it in the right way? I think so. It ties in with feeling blessed in this case.
The next morning, I bought 4 newspapers and clipped the pictures to save for our children.
I was proud of my children because they took the time to write about their father. To realize they were blessed, and wanted others to know it.
Because he really is a good father.
That Sunday was Father’s Day. My husband preached on the topic of Fathers and included the explanation of his “Father of the Year” Award since he was in the paper that morning. The congregation chuckled at the part of him being the only contestant.
Isaac then went on to say that he accepted the award because his children had honored him. I don’t think he felt he was the best father in Seminole, but he did accept it because he loved his children and knew they had written those letters from the heart.
But it also saddened him to think that there hadn’t been even one other entry from a child who wrote about their daddy. He wondered if this was a reflection of the breakdown of the family. It was sobering and thought provoking.
I’m sure there were other children who wanted to enter the contest but circumstances didn’t allow it. But quite honestly, I too thought that box would be brimming with letters from children who all wanted to “brag on their daddy.” But it wasn’t, and the Seminole, Texas Wal Mart serves a county population of at least 10,000 people.
They never had another Father’s Day contest after that, I’m guessing because of the lack of participation.
That is sad.
There are a lot of good fathers out there. Fathers who serve the Living God. Fathers who aren’t perfect, and know it, but they are doing their best and trusting God to help them.We have some of those awesome daddies in our church and in our community. Their families are being blessed because of the their fathers efforts.
I know it isn’t always easy.
When hard times come, I have my own personal analogy for my family. Maybe not very deep one mind you.
It is this, when difficulties in life come and dump us as a family into the river and the current is strong…
And even if the father of the home is fighting for us and holding onto us and encouraging us and pulling us to safety and praying for us…
I have told my children that we can to do our part and not just be dead weight. We need to be paddling as well to make it easier for the leading man in our life. We can do that by going to the Lord ourselves, not just expecting the men to “carry it all” and expecting them to fix our problems. We can help by cheering them on and encouraging them and each other.
Years ago we sang a song as a family called “It’s a Jungle out There.” for Isaac’s parents 50th wedding Anniversary. We knew the Peters Clan would appreciate our sense of humor, and even though it was children’s song that was sung by animals, it really had a good point. Here are a few lines…
“If you need someone to rely on count on me,
If you’re feeling lonely I’ll be there.
If you’re having trouble wait and see,
’cause you can always count on me to care.
Say ‘Hey friend!
You can count on me!!!
We’ve got to stick together it’s a jungle out there!'”
Yes, it IS a jungle out there and we need you Godly fathers in our lives. Thanks for doing what you do so well and for paying the price and going the extra mile… (yes, even if it means getting your picture in the paper.) We thank you and pray God’s blessing on you all.
Happy Fathers Day!!