Never without a second pursuit to earn extra income, my father defined the word entrepreneur. A tool-and-die maker when his family moved from their big city home to the small mill town where he met my mother, Dad worked as a lumber grader while he and Mom reared their children.
To supplement his earnings, Dad volunteered for odd jobs at the mill, earning precious overtime hours that paid for music lessons, instruments, summer camps, and other extracurricular activities.
The Bible teaches us in Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, and not for men.” Working hard would have been my father’s mantra.
At home, he always had a business going. As a small child, I remember the large chicken barn where he and Mom kept Leghorns for several years, raising fryers and selling eggs. They included me, making every duty—gathering and candling eggs, marking laying cards, culling out non-productive hens—important.
Raising rabbits also made Dad’s money-making schemes. But when the rabbits multiplied—and believe me, they did—his tender heart stood between him and butchering the creatures. The rabbit hutches soon resembled an avalanche with eyes. Difficult to sell a live fryer, fur intact.
Over time Dad investigated chinchillas. Though their furs made them valuable, the rodents were vicious little creatures with nasty habits. When we moved to my grandmother’s century farm just before I entered high school, the chinchillas were sold, the chickens turned loose, and the rabbits skittered for parts unknown.
I will never know how much extra income Dad’s penchant for business earned him. But the lessons I learned watching him be industrious stuck with me. He didn’t fear failure—he only looked for ways to start a new venture. He didn’t believe in being idle.
In both Colossians 3:21 and Ephesians 6:4 the Bible instructs fathers to not “exasperate their children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Psychologists claim earthly fathers shape a child’s perception of God. I thank my father for instilling in me a zest for living and for being the earthly father from whom I could shape my view of the heavenly Father. You are missed, Dad.