Oceans for Emotions: Honoring your father
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By Elaine Wheat
Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
- Exodus 20:12
On this Father's Day weekend, it gives me warm pleasures to think back to my father with little wonder why it is easy to honor him. He had a very unique way of earning the honors that will not wash away with the tides of time. He earned my respect and honor by respecting and honoring me.
Daddy started taking me fishing with him, when I was so young that I couldn't see over the top rail of the Bob Hall Pier. I had to cast through the opening of the second and third railings. He tied a long stringer onto the pier and to the front of my little fishing overalls, which gave me some room to roam, and we didn't have to fish right by each other.
I knew he did this because he loved me and wanted me to be safe, but still independent. I didn't believe him one bit when he told the man fishing next to him that he tied me on in case I fell in.
He said that if he got a fish at the same time, he could pull the fish in first because it might get away, but he knew I would be floating there face up waiting to be pulled in later.
For example, he told me to slide my feet along the sandy bottom of the sea to get where I was going to wade fish. He never mentioned stingrays, rocks or shell reefs to scare me into doing it.
He just told me to do the fisherman shuffle when walking in the water, and I did it. I honored him, and he honored me for doing it.
Sitting at home one evening, he taught me how to tie on a fish hook. I asked what would happen if I tied it on wrong or any other way.
He said, "Simple, Elaine, you would lose your fish, and I would catch mine."
Now who wouldn't honor that? I still tie it on the same way, and I have never lost a fish by losing the hook.
The one time I almost doubted my dad was when we were fishing out of Bayside in the channel in our little, rented, aluminum boat with a 25-horsepower motor, and a northern hit. The water got really rough.
Daddy looked at me and said we need more weight in the front of the boat, and I looked back at him. I realized that I was the weight that he was talking about.
He told me to get on the bow of the boat, hold on between my legs to the place where we tie the anchor on and see if I could ride it like a horse. He said, "If you can't do it, say so. If you can do it, say so."
We started off slowly, and I motioned him forward by waving my hand like a bronc rider until we were flying along at full speed ahead.
I was yelling "Yee haw," and I would look back at him and he would be smiling.
To me that is the epitome of honoring your father and him honoring you back, especially when he told me after we docked, "Don't tell your mother what we did. It is just between us."
Dear Heavenly Father, we honor and trust You because You first loved us. That has worked for me for these past 75 years.