|Photo by stevendepolo on Flickr|
1. Worship music. Possibly my earliest memory is standing in my crib listening to the old 1970s Maranatha! Praise series in Spanish. The first time I visited my dad after the divorce I noticed that there was beautiful worship music playing softly as we went to sleep. For the first time in quite awhile I feel asleep easily and had no nightmares. He gave me a cassette player and a copy of the tape that I nearly wore out. When they remarried, even in times when we were living off ramen noodles and hotdogs, there was always money available for a new worship tape, and our souls feasted.
2. Praying in the moment. Something dad had learned from his dad and grandpastor (his dad's pastor) was that you never just promise someone you'll pray. You do it right then. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but I've seen special things happen when you pray together right then.
3. An ear for languages. One of my dad's noteworthy abilities (shared with his sister) is quick and thorough linguistic adaptation. He perfectly imitates the accent of the people around him. Not only does his pronunciation change, but also his diction in general, including grammar and vocabulary. He is one of those people who will always sound like the people where he lives. While not as good as he is, I think that part of my ability in languages comes from him. Also, while I am not nationalistic, believing that my citizenship is in Heaven, he and I share a love for my birth country. There is a little part in both of us that isn't quite at home unless we are in Mexico.
4. Taking children seriously. One of the greatest things my dad did was take my opinions and input seriously as a child. I can never recall being dismissed because of my age. He listened to whatever I had to say and responded as if I were an adult. That is another trait that I saw in *his* father, too. It is an amazing gift to feel that your thoughts count.
5. Communion and optimistic eschatology. There are some areas where my theological beliefs may have rolled all the way into another orchard, but much of my basic apple remains close to his tree. In particular, I share his views on communion. I feel that something is lacking in any service where it is not a part. I still am a little dismayed by Protestant churches who have it as a rare event.
Regarding eschatology, I remember some churches with the "just a few more weary days and then" mentality. Did you ever see the old Christian horror movies like "A Thief in the Night"? Even as a kid I would have considered them great fodder for MST3K. My dad never viewed the church as a pitiful, defeated "cowering under the covers till we can get Raptured out of here" body. She is the glorious Bride! He imparted the security that we are reigning with Christ and that there is always hope for our future.
There are lots of other things for future posts. These were just a few of the first that came to mind. And don't worry--I wont neglect my mom's contributions :) My parents would be the first to say that none of us are perfect and they would do many things differently. But I am deeply grateful for the heritage they have given me, the confidence I have in their love, and the spiritual treasure they have imparted. If my kids grow up with the riches that my mom and dad have given me, I will consider myself a good parent.