Updated: Dec 22, 2021
To my Dad, Harry Ronald Badge
Dad, too often we let our lives go by and we fail to let the ones who are most important to us know just how special they are. You are a special person. There are so many reasons I am thankful you are my dad.
Thank you for the many times that you took us fishing (I loved to watch that bobber go down.) ice fishing (the thrill of seeing the flag of a tip-up go up), hunting rabbits, deer, pheasant, coon, squirrels, and mushrooming (you’d let us pick the ones that you found; now I do the same with Ashley and Mikelle.
Thank you for the fun times camping. They were great times. Still remember the sand surfers you made us for the sand dunes at Silver Lake.
Thank you for taking the time to play catch with us when we were little. I still remember how your pop0ups that you would throw us would go so high that they would seem to disappear out of sight.
Thank you for taking the time to attend so many of my basketball, football, baseball games and track meets. I know that you could have spent that time doing something else, but you didn’t. You choose to spend your time watching all of us. It meant a lot to see you in the stands.
Thank you for the tree house that you helped us build. Sorry about the dummy that we made and hung from a pulley over the road. It broke and landed on a passerby’s car. Whoops.
Thank you for allowing me to learn from my mistakes. I know there were other times that I used poor judgment and cost you some heartache and headache. Especially the time I shot my B-B gun at the tree by the road and the B-B ricocheted off it and hit our large picture window. Or, the time I turned into a motorcyclist while I was camping at Silver Lake. I’m sorry for what I put you through and glad that you forgave me.
I thank you for teaching me self discipline, hard work, honesty, and that quitting was never an option. You modeled that for all of us kids want you many dedicated years working at Oldsmobile.
Thank you fo all the Christmas and Easter memories. It seemed as though we always got our fair share of Christmas gifts and Easter candy.
Thank you for all the pets you let us have like Lady, Mittens, Lucky and the others. It helped teach us responsibility and respect for animals.
Thank you for your financial support during my college years. I know it must have put a financial strain on our family but I appreciate your commitment to bettering my life and my career.
Thanks for all the fixing around the house. Dad I have always admired the way you could fix anything-and around our house with five kids, something always needed fixing. You viewed cars, dryers, washers, motors, houses. You name it, you fixed it.
Thank you for teaching me how to draw. A lot of people say I have a gift to draw. I guess it is a gift. A gift from you-when quite a few years ago, you took the time to show your young son how to draw animals and other things. Now look what I do. I teach others to draw. Thank you for that gif t that I now pass on to others.
Thank you for the Sunday drives around the country side, over to Uncle Jack’s, Aunt Wanda’s or Aunt Bonnie’s or Uncle Crazy’s (Uncle DuWayne).
Thanks you for you your encouragement and your commitments to me. Everything I have- my home, my career, my family, and much more-is a gift from you ad mom for putting an investment in me. I’m grateful for that.
Dad I didn’t know Grampa Badge at all, and Gramma Badge just a little. I wish I could have known them more so that I could know more about you. My wish is that my children might have something that I wasn’t able to have-memories of the grandparents to pass on to their children.
Thank you dad for all your hard work, your dedication, your honesty and you sacrifices. I’m glad you are my dad. Happy Fathers’ Day and Happy Birthday.
I love you Dad.
After reading my tribute to dad, the next time I visited his house, I found it hanging in a prominent place for others to read. It opened up a highway of communication that was always one-way with my dad. After the tribute, it opened up a two-way highway of communication between the two of us. I’d really encourage you to physically type out a tribute, have it matted and framed and then read it in person to your mom if possible. It’s a gift that will keep on giving for a very long time.
Dennis Rainey says that writing a tribute to your parent can cement your relationship with them and allow them to see you as an adult, not a child. It matures us in their eyes. Some reported that it changed them, even if their parent didn’t. Some have also said that they have received remarkable healing through it. Writing a tribute could be the most profound, mysterious, experience of your life. For me, writing a tribute was one of the hardest but most rewarding things that I have ever done.
Would you have any regrets if your parents died tomorrow? Why wait for the eulogy to praise your parents after they’re gone? Praise them now while they are still alive. Dennis suggests that no matter how many bridges you’ve burned with your parents, take the step forward to praise and honor them.
In his book The Tribute, Dennis says that ‘There is something deep inside adult children that longs for a relationship with their mom and dad before they die.’ God honored my faithfulness with my dad. When I was 42 years old, I received a card from my dad that said he was proud of me and that he loved me. I had longed to hear those words. I had never remembered hearing those words from him before. I still have that card today.
But what if you had abusive parents? I want to caution you that writing a Tribute does not assure that it will solve your problems. So why should you honor your parents that were abusive? Dennis has three reasons: First, to obey God regardless of pain. Second, so you might experience healing. And finally, we need to do all that we can to reconcile our parents to God.
Dennis also gives the following suggestions when honoring abusive parents. Acknowledge any fear in honoring your parent. Take inventory of the extent of abuse. Choose to forgive them for the damage they did. By faith, thank God for your parents. When ready, honor them even in the smallest of ways. You could write The Tribute to yourself about your parents and your faith in God. Maybe after some healing, God will impress upon you to write it for them.
So, if your dad has hurt or abused you in anyway, big or small, I’d encourage you to forgive through the power of the holy spirit to release any toxins. Forgiveness doesn’t condone their behavior and let him off the hook. The bible says God will deal with him. Forgiveness prevents your father’s behaviors from poisoning your life.
Dennis finally cautions that The Tribute not be the ultimate test of your relationship with your parents. Be patient as you work to reclaim good memories with your parents. Your parents may refuse to reconnect. Be sure to avoid the comparison trap of what other people have done or didn’t do for their parents. And finally, use caution as you try to rebuild your relationship that was broken.
He also has three suggestions if a parent has died and you’re feeling regret. First, allow yourself to grieve. Second, honor your living parent that remains. Lastly, find ways to honor your deceased parent. Maybe write a Tribute even if they’re already gone.
My Worst, Yet Best Christmas Ever
I’d like to finish with a story about “My Worst, Yet Best Christmas Ever”. I know, this may sound like an oxymoron but you’ll see what I’m talking about at the end of my story.
It was two weeks before Christmas a number of years ago and I received a phone call from the hospital. They told me that my dad had just suffered a life threatening aneurism in his stomach. An aneurism is when an aorta ruptures and can lead to massive internal bleeding.
The ambulance rushed dad to the hospital. My wife and I hopped in the car and raced to the hospital to meet the ambulance there. My sister who lived in the same city met us at the hospital. When the ambulance finally arrived, dad was hurried off to surgery. Things were looking quite critical.
After surgery, we met with doctors. They said dad’s condition was pretty serious but felt he could recover. They had to put him in an induced coma to allow for his body to heal. The doctors seemed to think dad would eventually get better.
When we went to ICU to see dad, there were breathing tubes, iv’s with medicine, iv’s to feed him and wires to monitor blood pressure, heart rate, and body temp. It was hard to see my dad that way. He’d always been so strong.
My other siblings finally arrived later that day. Over the next couple of weeks, we took turns sitting in the waiting room, waiting for dad to heal and get better.
Before I go any farther, let me tell you a little bit about my four siblings. I have three sisters and one brother. An older sister, a twin sister, a younger brother and a younger sister. There were four of us within three years apart.
We were really close growing up but after college, we all drifted apart because of our jobs, families and distance. But, we had lots of time to reconnect while waiting at the hospital. We even prayed together as a family for dad to get better. You guys, our family never prayed together. How many of you have families that pray together? You are blessed if you do.
Our days at the hospital were long days. Some days, we’d stayed all day long. Other days, we’d stay in shifts. One day became two. Two became three. Three became a week. A week became two weeks. Dad just didn’t seem to be getting better.
But, we stayed hopeful.
It was now Christmas Eve, two weeks after my dad had arrived at the hospital. He was still in a coma. I was home with my family and it was our tradition to have nice dinner on Christmas Eve and then go to church for the Candle Light service.
We had just finished our meal when I received a call from the hospital. They said dad’s organs were shutting down. They wanted my sibling and I to meet the next morning on Christmas Day at the hospital to decide if we would keep him on life support or not.
I got up early on Christmas day, got showered, dressed, and had some breakfast. I then headed to the hospital to meet my brother and sisters.
Christmas Like No Other
Christmas morning was usually family time, another family tradition. My wife, Laurie would make monkey bread for breakfast. We’d sit around in our pajamas and open gifts. We’d listen to Christmas music and watch Christmas movies all day. Christmas was a day to relax and enjoy each others company. But, this would be a Christmas like no-other.
I grabbed my bible and was off to the hospital. I was the first of my siblings to arrive. When I walked into my dad’s room, I was startled to see His eyes were wide open. Hadn’t opened eyes for the past 2 weeks. His eyes didn’t focus on me like they normally would. He had a fixed stare, looking straight up at the ceiling.
I said “Good Morning Dad. It’s Christmas morning. Merry Christmas.” At the sound of my voice, his head started to jerk from side to side. It was like he was trying to find me but he couldn’t.
I read the Christmas story from Luke 2:4-16. When I finished, I said “Dad, I love you and so does Jesus. That’s why God sent His one and only son to the earth 2000 years ago as a baby on that first Christmas day. Jesus grew up, lived a sinless life, was crucified on a cross. He died for your sins and for mine. He rose from the dead so we can have eternal life. Dad, God loves you so much. His arms are stretched out wide open for you. Fall into His arms of love, dad.”
It was weird but his head quit jerking while I was reading and talking to him. When I finished, I could see a tear in the corner of his eye. I’ve heard that hearing is the last sense you lose when someone is in a coma. I feel that dad heard me that Christmas morning.
Met with Doctors
My siblings and I met with doctors later that Christmas morning. We had a tough decision to make; do we keep him on life support or do we take him off. It was an agonizing, gut wrenching decision to make. Can you imagine having to be the one who decides to allow a family member to die or not. According to my Dad’s Will, he didn’t want to be kept on life support. That really helped with us with our decision. We decided to take him off life support the day after Christmas. He took his last breath that next afternoon and was gone.
I hold that dad knew his life was coming to an end even though he was in a coma. I also trust that maybe, just maybe, he heard me and made the decision to believe in Jesus and fall into His loving arms and is in heaven right now.
Like I said, this was the worst Christmas ever, but it also was the best. It was the worst Christmas because I lost my dad. But, it was also the best Christmas because I believe that I will see my dad again someday in heaven.
God Uses All Things for Good
Romans 8:28 says “God Uses All Things for Good”. I wondered, how God could use this for good. Let me explain. Through my dad’s death, God gave me a chance to witness to my my father and I believe he is in heaven.
God also used this terrible experience to bring my family together. My siblings and I are so much closer since my dad’s death. At first, I couldn’t see the good, but years later, I have.
My dad is gone now. I have no regrets. I let him know that I loved him and that he was a good dad through The Tribute that I wrote him. There was a time during my younger years that I couldn’t see that happening. I now have his Tribute and have a place of honor for it in my home to show my children and grandchildren the legacy of their grandfather and great-grandfather.
If you’d like more information on how to write a tribute, you can purchase the book ‘The Tribute’ by Dennis Rainey online.
If you'd like more information about the "The Father's Blessing", click here.
For more information on men, read "Men-In the Crosshairs" by clicking here.