6/21/18, by James Mosher,
“Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
I can remember vividly the advice I received from a friend regarding my passage into fatherhood:
“Cherish them! They grow quickly.”
My oldest son turned seventeen last week and received his driver’s license in the mail the following day. He reminds me almost daily about his eagerness to embrace the future. As I survey the past, I cannot give an honest accounting for the time, but I know that I haven’t been complacent. Steadily, his mom and I have been working diligently toward the day that is fast approaching.
It seems as if it was just yesterday that I was in his shoes. I can still see my dad’s expression as he would utter treasured idiomatic expressions.
We lost my dad nearly a decade ago, but the guidance I received from him has been preserved and imparted to my four kids:
My dad was an accountant. During tax season, he worked long hours. Despite a hectic schedule, he always made time to peek in and inquire about my day before heading up to bed. He would usually find me at my desk finishing up homework, or in bed reading a book. Typically, we would have a brief conversation that often culminated in him motivating me with the Latin phrase, Carpe Diem, which means seize the day.
A penny saved is a penny earned!
My dad was the epitome of frugal. He was one of a kind. Everyone that knew him called him “Archie” (referring to Carroll O’Connor and the sitcom “All In the Family”). He constantly clipped coupons and shopped Dell’s Damaged Freight for weekly deals. Often, after dinner, and on the weekends when he was home, we would take a walk around the city to burn off the evening meal.
He would always carry a bag with him to collect bottles, and he never missed a nickel. It wasn’t that we were poor. We certainly were not poor. Both my parents worked hard to provide handsomely for us. The simple fact is that my dad enjoyed saving and living beneath his means; it was a game to him and he was very good at it.
Pay attention to detail!
There were many nights that I would climb the stairs to my parent’s bedroom to say a final “Good night!” I usually found my dad behind his desk crunching numbers for a client’s tax return. He would work all day for a reputable CPA firm in Central New York and burn the midnight oil finalizing accounts for his own customers. He amassed a bunch of satisfied clients over the years because of his diligence. My dad enjoyed solving complex computations and ensuring that everything was in its respective place on all of the forms.
Go the extra mile!
One summer, my dad came home to find me lying around reading.
He said matter-of-factly, “It is a beautiful day outside, why aren’t you mowing lawns?”
My full-time job was a paper route that I had been responsible for since I was eleven. Over the years, the route provided opportunities for extra income.
I responded smartly, “Because there isn’t any work.”
He replied, “Then your work should be to seek new opportunity.”
I left the house hastily and was so annoyed with him that I mowed a handful of lawns for free because most of the doors that I had knocked on that day were neighbors who took care of their own yards. However, I did manage to impress a few customers and subsequently opened doors to new sources of income.
What a valuable lesson!
There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch (TANSTAAFL).
Copies of National Review were easy to come by in my childhood home. William F. Buckley, Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, and Rush Limbaugh were all household names. There is no telling which one of these gentlemen were responsible for the phrase being passed down to me. Perhaps it is safe to say that they all are, as each one of them was instrumental in shaping my dad’s worldview.
Growing up, I did not understand why my dad would express gratitude for providence when praying over supper. We all clearly knew that my parents supplied the means by which we were clothed, housed, and fed.
My dad would frequently talk about grace and the concept of sacrifice. He could be heard time and again saying, “There is no such thing as free.”
He would boldly state, “Free costs somebody something.”
I contemplated all of this and more last week as my son, and I toured the nation’s capital for his birthday. We managed to visit most of the significant sites.
The Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery was a special highlight for me. I found it especially fitting for Father’s Day weekend. I couldn’t help but draw parallels to the father-son relationship as I watched the Sergeant First Class in charge of the ceremony perform his duties flawlessly.
I was so moved that I watched for hours and captured ample footage of the event. I dare say that one would be hard-pressed to find a more thorough depiction of duty, honor, and sacrifice than what is on display at Arlington — except of course on the battlefield.
As we reflect upon fatherhood this month, may each one of us resolve to take care of our responsibilities and seize the initiative.
Our families, our communities, and our country will be much better off if we do.
James Mosher is a husband, father, veteran and patriot who appreciates the cost of freedom. He sees the storm clouds on the horizon and writes so that others may be prepared.
If you would like to reach James about The Mosher Minutes, e-mail Maine First Media at; mainefirstmedia.com.