I want to share with you my Father’s Day thoughts. My father, Donald Miskel, is crazy, but what he taught me paid off. Crazy may have its down side but it DEFINITELY served a purpose! Let me tell you how.
– My father feared NOTHING. I remember us coming home and found our apartment had been broken into. My dad, who is a martial artist, kept weapons stashed around the house. He took off his shirt, grabbed a sword from behind the front door and went through the house to take on any intruder insane enough to still be there.
– The above paid off when I was older and came home, with my siblings, to find our back door kicked in. My mother was out of town and my dad was at church during a broadcast (yeah, he’s a minister, too!). I found the nearest weapon and cleared the apartment. Then I took up a vigil in Dad’s easy chair, with his .38 derringer in my lap. When he got home, he just walked up and asked, “Is it loaded?”
– Something similar happened when our next-door neighbor came knocking on the door, bleeding from a head wound her husband had given her with the butt of his rifle. My parents were gone and I had to handle the situation. I did it the way my father taught me: sent my younger siblings to another neighbor’s house, barricaded the doors and armed myself. Again, he had to ask if the derringer was loaded…
– We’d moved to a certain bad neighborhood (we grew up in Englewood, which was one BIG bad neighborhood!) and the local gang bangers were trying to recruit my brother and I. My father invited a bunch of his martial arts students (many of whom had questionable criminal backgrounds at one time or another) and held an impromptu class in the backyard. Then he issued promises–not threats–to the knuckleheads in the area. A few of them had to be paid visits, much to their chagrin. Suddenly, the interest in recruiting Chris and I went down to zero. I wonder why?! LOL!
– There were heroin dealers in one building. The junkies on the staircase were like zombies, trying to get another hit. Needless to say, that didn’t last long. And, in the words of Forrest Gump: “That’s all I’m gonna say about that!”
: “Donald Miskel, thank you for all you’ve done as my father. Though you didn’t get everything right the first time around, you made strides to ensure you got things on track! It’s not all about where you’ve been but where you’re headed! I appreciate your input and advice. You’ve reached me in ways no one else could because, well, I’ve always been something of a chip off the old blockhead! LOL! Two pivotal words of advice you gave changed my life forever: 1. I came home from elementary school and proudly proclaimed that I was now rolling with the Black Gangster Disciple Nation. You had been a Disciple when you were a teen and I figured you’d be proud. WRONG! Let’s just say that was the first and LAST day I ever ran with a street gang. The advice was that I could get out the gang or incur your wrath. I think of all the friends of mine whose fathers were either lax or not there at all and they never got the same guidance. Many of those dudes are in and out of jail or dead now… 2. I’d graduated high school and was just working a job flipping burgers. You came by and asked about my aspirations. I gave you a line like Louie Anderson’s character from ‘Coming to America’ (“See, now I’m washing lettuce…and next week, I’ll be on fries…”). You very calmly explained that there are people in the world who have no choice BUT to flip burgers and be street sweepers. You said that, though there is honor in all work, I was too talented to waste mine on settling for a burger joint job. Not long after, I was at the Navy recruiter’s office and my life changed for the better forever. Thanks, Dad!!! :)”
Words by my oldest son. Borrowed from Facebook. My oldest son turned out to be all of the things I wish I had been. He retired from the military and is a captain in a federal police department in Virginia Beach, VA.
Don is a family man a mentor to many young men a women and is an inspiration to all he comes in contact with. He learned as much for my mistakes and foolishness as he did from my occasional moments of insight. He’s the man I would be if I had a chance to do it all over again.
I am so proud of you, son.
Donald Miskel (the elder)
WHAT IS THERE THAT MAKES A MAN A FATHER
WHAT CAUSES THIS TRANSITION IN A MAN
WHY IS IT THAT SOME CAN’T MEET THE MEASURE
AND WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE IN THOSE WHO CAN
FATHERHOOD IS MORE THAN JUST CONCEPTION
IT REQUIRES MORE THAN JUST BIOLOGY
IT DEMANDS WISDOM AND PERCEPTION
AN EAR THAT LEARNS TO HEAR AND EYES THAT SEE
ANY MAN CAN LEARN TO WOO A WOMAN
AND IT DOESN’T TAKE A MAN TO MAKE A CHILD
A FATHER MUST BE STRONG WHEN STRENGTH IS CALLED FOR
AND MUST KNOW WHEN TO BE TENDER, MEAK AND MILD
AN IRON HAND WHEN FIRMNESS IS REQUIRED
A TENDER HAND TO WIPE AWAY A TEAR
HE GIVES A WORD OF WISDOM TO THE FOOLISH
IS AN ISLE OF COURAGE IN A SEA OF FEAR
A FATHER DOESN’T SHY AWAY FROM DUTY
HE MUST RECOGNIZE RESPONSIBILITY
THE ROADS HE TRAVELS MAY NOT ALL BE ROSES
HE MUST OFTEN BOW TO LIFE’S REALITY
A REAL MAN IS THE HIGH PRIEST IN HIS HOUSEHOLD
A FATHER MUST BE FIRST TO LEAD THE WAY
AND IF HE LOOKS TO GOD FOR HIS DIRECTION
THERE ARE JEWELS OF WISDOM IN THE WORDS HE SAY
SO FOLLOW ME MY CHILDREN WHERE I LEAD YOU
MARK THE FOOTSTEPS PON THE ROAD I TROD
AND LEARN MY SON TO BE BOTH MAN AND FATHER
AND FOLLOW ME AS I FOLLOW GOD
Rev. Donald Miskel