“Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we’ve ever known.” – Ronald Reagan
As we approach Father’s Day, I wanted to have the opportunity to write a guest blog for my dad. In a month, I’ll turn 30. And my wife and I are having our first child this year as well. It’s a significant year for me that has caused me to reflect a lot on the Craft legacy, what it means to be a Craft, and how I’m going to continue that with my own family.
Years ago, my dad wrote this list, called “Ten Things My Father Did Right.” The principles in this list have extended far beyond the original ten into a family culture that I feel like is primarily responsible for any personal greatness that I feel like I have reached at 30 years of age.
It’s what has prepared me for marriage, life, and parenthood. It’s enabled me to begin the journey to become all that God has called me to become, and I wanted to share some stories about how these things that were originally about my grandfather have translated into my own life as a son.
- He helped me to believe in myself
“Whether you think you can, or you can’t you’re right” – Henry Ford
When I was young, when confronted with things that would seem difficult to me, I would instantly begin with “I can’t do that.” Even things that would be normal for a child my age, staying at a friends house, riding a bike, being in a school play. Each time I would feel that way, or be intimidated by a situation like that, I remember my dad being there. He wouldn’t be frustrated at me (although I’m sure that he was). He was just an encourager. As much as he could, he would do those things with me. And In doing those things with me, he would empower me to feel like I could do them by myself. My dad’s belief in me at a very young age inspired my belief in myself.
- He helped me to overcome my fears
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not the absence of fear.” Mark Twain
There’s a story I love to tell about a time my dad and I were at the West Edmonton mall in Canada. At the time, this mall was the largest mall in the world, and it still is the largest mall in North America. They used to have submarines in the mall that would run through a large aquarium. I was about 5-6 years of age at the time, and the idea of trusting a metal box underwater to keep me from drowning was not an encouraging thought. My dad said that he would be with me the whole time, and everything would be fine. In spite of that I was still afraid. As we were standing in line to get on the submarine, I started singing a song i learned in children’s church that said “Fear not, for I am with you says the Lord” for the chorus. The closer we got to the submarine, the louder I sang. I get a point in the song where I am singing at the top of my lungs, and instead of being embarrassed at me or apologizing for me, my dad was right alongside me, singing with me. He not only helped me overcome my fears, but he helped me understand that God has not given me a spirit of fear.
- He helped me to develop a philosophy of life
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” Roy Disney
One of the greatest things that my dad has modeled for me is generosity. I’ve seen him give people cars and motorcycles. I’ve seen him pay people’s house payments and IRS bills. I’ve seen him be generous not just with his money, but with his time and his talent. I’ve seen him extend mercy and grace towards myself and other people, that in many situations was so undeserved. Because of this, all growing up, i felt like generosity was just the status quo. It was and is a way of life for me. I remember at my birthday one year, I had a friend who really liked a gift that I had gotten. Before he left my house that day, my parents had to stop me from giving him the gift that I had just received for my birthday. I’m grateful to my dad for teaching me generosity. Teaching me that generosity is not just a way of giving, but it’s a way of living. I have learned, not just from what my dad says, but from the way that he lives, to be a person Isaiah 32:8 describes. “But a generous man devises generous things, and by generosity he shall stand.”
- He gave me direction when I needed it
“Life doesn’t come with an instruction book…that’s why we need fathers.”
My dad has never been afraid to give me correction, direction and encouragement. Usually in equal doses. In my family, it has never been just about behavior modification. The goal with my father has always been “what kind of person are you becoming?” So when I needed to be corrected because I was headed down a path that I should be going down, I got that. When I needed direction because I didn’t know which way to go, i got that. When i needed encouragement because i was unsure or insecure, i got that. One of the greatest things my dad has shown me is that you always need a balance of these three things; correction, direction and encouragement. Sometimes in different ratios, but even in the times where the correction was strong, I was, and always have been encouraged to be the best me that God has created me to be.
- He spent time with me
My dad is my best friend. But in many ways we don’t have the same interests. There were times when my dad would sit down next to me when I played video games and just be next to me. There were times when he would have me go with him places that he was going because he wanted me with him. The summer before my freshman year, he sat down with me and said he was going to give me a summer job. That summer, he paid me and my only job was to “be with him.” I went to meetings and conferences, and did all kinds of things just because my dad wanted me to be with him. He not only spent time with me, he made me feel like he wanted to spend time with me.
- He let me be me
My dad and I could not be more different. He’s loud, i’m quiet. He goes fast, I go slow. He’s spontaneous, i’m calculated. As much as I can remember, my dad has never tried to change me to be more like him. He has celebrated our differences. He’s made me feel like what makes me different from him is a part of my personal greatness.
- He never lost his temper
Passion is one of the words that defines my dad. I believe it is one thing to be passionate, and it’s another to be out of control. My father didn’t lose composure with me. There have definitely been intense times in our relationship (most of those have been created by me). But this intensity has never created fear in me. What he has always taught me, not just in word but in deed; is that there’s two kinds of people in the world, those who handle their frustration and those who wish they had. I’m sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that i have frustrated my dad many times, but he has been a master in leading himself to lead me.
- He created good childhood memories for me
There are so many great memories of my childhood. I travelled the world with my dad until I was 13. We would go to such far flung places as Clovis, New Mexico, Texarkana, Texas and Shawnee, Kansas. I got to watch my dad preach the gospel, tear down walls of concrete, and break out of handcuffs. But the greatest memories I have with him are just the time he spent with me, and the time I got to spend with him.
- He loved my mother
“The most important thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” -Theodore Hesburgh
In so many ways, my dad is a model of how a husband should love his wife. I’ve seen first hand, for almost 500 months, he’s celebrated my mom on the 20th of every month. Throughout our house growing up, there were boxes filled with cards dating back to the 70’s. To watch my dad love my mom that way has taught me how to love my wife. Because of the way my dad loved my mom, I strive to love my wife the same way. We’re quite a few months behind, but we will celebrate 60 months on July 1.
- He always provided for my family
My dad was on the road sometimes up to 48 weeks a year with Strike Force so that we could have what we had as a family growing up. He’s always had multiple streams of income in order to create the kind of life I have been able to live.
On this father’s day, I am so grateful to God for giving me Keith Craft as a father. There’s so much about who I am that I know is a result of him. Because of his leadership and voice in my life, I am in ministry, I have a great wife and I am carrying on a great legacy. If there are 10 things that my grandfather did right (there’s way more than ten), i feel like there are a million things my father did right.
When I look back, I am beginning to realize that great parenting doesn’t happen in big moments. Great parenting happens every day and in small things. I owe so much to the small moments with my dad. Moments where I’ve watched him have mercy and grace in unmerciful and ungraceful situations. Moments of generosity where he could have withheld (and had every right to). I’ve seen him model leadership, excellence, a positive attitude and a spirit of generosity. I’ve seen him follow God with all of his heart to become to man God wants him to be. It’s never been perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s been authentic and real. And I think God wants that for all of us. My dad has always taught me that if you do these two things you’ll be successful in life:
1) Give God something to work with
2) Give people something to respect.
It’s never been about doing everything right. Often it’s been about being the good man described in Proverbs. The man who falls seven times and stands up eight. But it’s not just about getting up, but getting up stronger. Getting up with more of God than he fell down with.
On this Father’s Day, I encourage you, there’s more people counting on you than you know. I’m grateful that I have earthly leadership in my parents that through their life, not just what they say, have pointed the way to my Heavenly Father. Some of the greatest gifts that God has ever given me are my parents, and I think every parent has the potential to be that kind of gift to their child.