What My Father Taught Me
Christian artists and authors share what they've been taught by their father, and father figures.

"The greatest gift I ever had came from God. I call him Dad." -Anonymous

For many of us, we learn many important lessons from our fathers. And whether we learn those from good examples, or in some cases, by bad examples that we seek to not repeat and improve on, the fathers and men in our lives help shape who we are.

Ultimately, we all can look to our heavenly Father as the best example on how to live in all situations. As we prepare to celebrate Father's Day, we opened up our virtual mic and invited artists to share some of the most important life-lessons they were taught by their father (or father-figures). We were blown away by the response!

You may not recognize all the names below, but the stories of how influencial these men have been in these artist's and author's lives is a testiment of how we are to live as we mirror as best we can our Father in heaven. 

Sound off below in the comments on how your own father (or father-figure) has shaped your life.

Manwell Reyes’ (Group 1 Crew): My dad and I went through some incredibly tough times but we have managed to birth an amazing relationship from that history. If I could describe my father in a couple of words it would be...Puerto Rican! For those of you who are or know Puerto Ricans, you know they are a proud people full of culture as well as a macho sensibility that overpowers the room. My father is exactly that. Proud to a fault but at the same time it was that pride in who he was and where he came from that he passed to me. I see my father no longer as dad, but as a man who took a really horrible hand that he was given, and turned it into a pretty impressive family. My dad taught me so many things like how to save money. He said, " your money." And that was the only financial discussion we ever had, but it worked! He taught me to love my mom even when she got a little crazy. He taught me to respect people without prejudice and to treat them kindly. He helped shape my character and even to this day he continues to be my main supporter regardless if he understands all that I'm doing or not. He trusts me. And for that I honor my dad and pray that my life be a reflection of his sacrifice and a shining moment in his history where he can sit back and smile and say "at least I did that right." Gotta love my pops.

Chris Brink of The Museum: My father is an incredible man. He has always been very loving to my mother and took time to really invest in the life of myself and the lives of my siblings. He's a great model of consistency. Growing up he taught me a lot of things, but one that really stands out was his teaching me to make spending time with Christ a priority. Most mornings, as a kid in elementary school all the way up through high school, my Mom and Dad would sit down with my siblings and I to read from the Bible. My dad would explain what the verses were saying and would talk with us about how we could apply that to our own lives. They would then pray for us each by name. It put my focus on what was really important each day. Ever since, I've always realized the importance of maintaining a continual, growing relationship with Christ. When my wife and I are blessed to have kids, I want to follow his example and spend time going through God's Word with them. It wasn't probably any more than 10-15 minutes, but it made a world of difference in my life.

Jonny Diaz: My father taught me to be willing to step out of my comfort zone. Naturally,  I'm prone to be somewhat introverted. However, my dad has a great ability to talk to, serve and love complete strangers. He has taught me that the urgency to show others the love of Jesus far outweighs any comfort boundaries I may have.

John Waller: My dad taught me to treat my wife like a queen. He modeled that for me and it has made all the difference in my marriage! I believe that will affect the way my sons treat their wives one day, and the standard of how my daughters will expect to be treated!

Cheri Keaggy
: Dad taught me through his actions that when you love someone, you make it a priority to spend time with them. We shared a love of music and often sat together at a coffee shop to do our music theory or we'd play for the old folks at the local convalescent home. Though he worked hard for our family, he rarely ever missed a piano recital and took time to read Bible stories to my sister and I when we were little. All of these things communicated love to me. Thanks, Dad. Happy Father's Day!
FLAME: One of the most important lessons that my father has taught me is the value of commitment in marriage. He was a great example of how to remain committed in marriage through all of life's ups and downs.

Jack Pumphrey - Newsong:  I was blessed with godly parents and they were always very supportive of what I wanted to do. Parents of musicians are sometimes hesitant to be fully supportive because of the hard road it is, but my dad’s always showed me unconditional love. When things were bad he was there, and when things were good he was there to pat me on the back. My dad is a man of character. When I was growing up, he didn’t have to say much to make an impact—he lived by example and that stuck with me, especially being a dad now myself. I am so thankful to have a godly father in my life.

J'SONSince I grew up without a father, it was by Gods grace that some men were able to give me some nuggets to use while I was younger. I remember a father of a good friend to mine that said that you are a man when you are truly ready to except responsibility. Responsibility for your actions, your family and your life.

Anthony EvansMy father has taught me that when you feel the Lord calling you to a specific thing, you stick to it even if it's not the "current thing to do in ministry." He constantly reminds me what being a faithful follower of the Lord is.

Chad of No Other Name: My dad taught me the importance of responsibility. He told me once that everyone needs help at some point in their life and that I shouldn't be too proud to take that help if I really needed it. But he followed that with a lesson in how important it is for a man to take care of and provide for himself and his family. That's something I will always remember because my dad didn't just tell me these things, he lived them out.

Sam Allen of No Other NameMore than anything, my dad led by example. And while he wasn't perfect, the quality that stands out most is his impeccable honesty. I've seen my dad drive back to the store to return just a few cents when the clerk gave him too much change. Jesus said not to swear by things. There's no need for it. If you're always truthful no one will ever question you. Just say "yes" or "no" and that will be good enough. My dad lived this. I hope to as well.

John Schlitt: My father taught me that when you give your word, keep your word. Also, don't expect others to do your work.
Jason Bare: Honestly, there are SO MANY life-lessons that have been given to me by my father, that I wouldn't even know where to begin. Lessons that have carried me from childhood into manhood. I can remember moments when my dad would take my brother and I fishing, or take us on long drives to nowhere, just to talk about life and the purpose of God on our lives. Back in the mid 80's my dad had this little, red, Isuzu pick-up. It was a stick-shift and I was usually the one stuck in the middle, shifting gears! (That's how he taught me to drive!) He would toss us boys in the cab and off we would go, through the countryside, to talk about God, school, girlfriends and everything in between. From times like these, by my teenage years, I knew that music ministry was the direction that God had for my life! 
I would have to say that the most valuable life-lesson that my father gave me though, he gave to me again just a few days ago, when he called me and asked me how much time I had been devoting to prayer. Growing up, we face difficult times, moments of insecurities and uncertainties, but my dad would always remind me that I could carry it all to God in prayer, and that God would always be faithful to respond. Maybe not always in the way that I wanted, but always in the way that was best for me! I had to learn to adjust my thinking to meet what God had planned. (Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 55:9) Not only did my dad talk to me about prayer, but he lived a life of prayer in front of me. There were times that I knew we were living blessed because of the time my earthly father was spending with my heavenly Father. 
Just as difficult as times may have been growing up, today, things can seem much harder to handle than ever before! Being on the road, as a full-time artist, definitely has it's ups and downs. I can get so busy with the business side of things, and the traveling, etc... that it may take a call from dad, just to remind me, "don't get so busy that you take away from your time in prayer." 
Thanks Daddy... I am forever grateful for every moment, every lesson, but mostly, every prayer. 

Zach Bolen of CitizensWhen I was growing up I would often stay at my aunt and uncle's house on the weekend.  Without fail every morning when I would come downstairs, often before everyone else, my uncle would be at the kitchen table reading the bible and praying.  Even at such a young age it was clear to me that Jesus was king of his life.  That example has had a profound impact on my life as a disciple of Jesus, and has dramatically affected who I am as a husband and father.

Jaime ThiettenGrowing up, my dad would always looking for opportunities to help those around him in need. He was an RN and owned a Home Health and Hospice agency so his life was really geared around helping others. As I look back, one of the things that stands out most was so simple, yet so memorable. We were headed out on a trip and he stopped at the gas station to fill up with gas. We were running late so I wondered why he also took the extra time to fill the spare gas can in the back of the pickup. When he got back in the car I asked him why he'd done that, and he replied "that's just in case we pass someone on the side of the road who has run out of gas. He was always thinking of others and I feel blessed that he taught us kids what I feel is one of the most important lessons in love and serve those around us.

Patrick Lockwood of MosaicMy dad is an interesting man. He's brilliant for starters. He's also an avid-reader of anything and everything, especially biographies of random people you've never heard of. He takes a kick-boxing class on weeknights. He loves music made by people who make whatever music comes from their hearts, and not because it will make them money. He's not afraid to sing along as loud as he can even if he is unsure of the melody. He loves hiking and camping. He's creative and he loves to build random pieces of furniture and boats. When he works, he works hard. And he's had hair that resembles Albert Einstein's unkempt hairstyle since he was 30. But even more intriguing than all of these things is that I've never felt like my father was embarrassed of his personality. 
I guess one thing that sticks out to me about my father is that he's always seemed so comfortable in his own skin. He's okay with being weird. I think that I have really grown to appreciate and respect that. Our culture really tries to put us all in a little "cool" box where you have to act like you're a little bit "above" everything around you, and it's just a really ugly and boring situation. So I think God has used my father to encourage me to embrace who God made me to be, and is making me to be. Goofiness and all. Thanks Dad.

Cameron Gwaltney of The Beautiful RefrainDad taught me how to love a wife. I grew up watching him interact with my mom; holding her hand, telling her that she is beautiful and randomly giving her a kiss in the kitchen (which I thought was pretty gross). Though I'm not married, all these things that I saw growing up made a lasting impression on me. Dad's love for mom will serve as a great example for me when my time comes to love a wife like Christ loved His church.

Sean SpicerMy father taught me good family values and traditions. He also taught me to strive to be the best.

Jordan EliasOne must pay honor where honor is due.

Andrew Osenga: My Father was an incredibly hard worker. Not a workaholic, he just gave his work, and more importantly, the people he was working with, his focus and energy. Especially in a creative field, the ability to not get distracted and to give your attention to the people you're working with/for is maybe the most important thing. I learned that from him.

David Teems, AuthorA lot of things come to mind when I think of life lessons my father taught me. If I have a good marriage (and I do), it is because I watched how he treated my mother in their 55 years together. It was more like an endless courtship. I went into my own marriage with forever in mind. It's all I knew. He loved Scripture and in my time it bloomed sweetly. But one thing that may not be the highest on anyone else's list as it is on mine, my father taught me and my brother how to laugh. 
Laughter was a common feature in our home. It was part of our vernacular. But we never laughed at each other. Sarcasm was not in him. It was much larger than that--simpler, more refined--and it came from a liberated place, from a deep reserve, a hallowed place in my father's soul. I can't remember one single instant that my father made me the target of his laughter, or any of us. Ever. He was too kind for that, too warm. He had no harm in him. And his mirth was as infective as it was inclusive. Even if you didn't know what put a certain grin on his face, we grinned with him and with the same enthusiasm, the same boundless dimensions. He made it easy.
Laughter is redemptive. There were medicines in it. But don't get me wrong. He was no fool. Any laughter in our house was always seasoned with integrity and nobility, things I had no language for way back then. When I was very young, he was larger than life. 
I could be exaggerating. We do that. We weave legends from old fond memories. But that is how I remember him. He died in 2001, so I haven't heard him laugh in a long time, but just the other day I spent some time with an old friend, someone who knew me well, and knew my father so many years ago. At some point she said, "your laugh reminds me of your daddy." All I could do was grin. The memory was sweet. 

James Mileti of The SunriseMy dad is 81 and unsaved. My biggest and constant fear is that he will die without knowing Jesus. My dad and his situation has taught me the meaning of unrelenting prayer. I pray for my father's salvation every day, pratically begging God to come into my dad's life before it is too late.

Jeff Petherick, AuthorMy father has instilled in me--through his actions, not just his words--the powerful lesson of humility. My Dad has traversed across a wide socio-economic path over his lifetime, growing up in a small, northern Michigan town, the son of the local Five and Dime owner, and eventually becoming a partner in one of the largest investment banks in the country. Yet regardless of where he was on the journey, he always treated others with great respect, ascribing more worth to their life than his own, no matter where they stood on the socio-economic spectrum. I have watched this and admired it my entire life, and I have come to understand the energy and life-giving power of a humble man. I am so grateful for him and this legacy he has left for me. 
Julie EliasMy father taught me about unconditional love, not just through his words but through his actions. My sister and I had different strengths but we were praised--and criticized--equally. My parents have been married for 28 years and have complete trust and respect for each other. I know my dad desires to be in my life as much as I need him without stifling me but I find the love, wisdom and guidance I receive from my father makes me WANT to be around him. There were times he told me "yes," because he loved me. There were times he told me "no," because he loved me.  y dad is a great example of how God wants all fathers to be--full of leadership as well as unconditional love and support.

Laura Allen: My dad taught me the value of hard work and the importance of a balanced life. In addition to his full-time job, Dad spent the evenings and weekends maintaining our small family farm. By the time we could walk, we were helping, and learning. But it wasn't all hard work. Dad always made sure we took time off too. We took a lot of trips to the beach, to amusement parks and to Gator games. I learned to work when it was time to work but also to take time to relax and enjoy life!
Perry LaHaieTo love life, to be passionate for God, to cherish my wife, to be generous, to be excited about God’s Kingdom!
Mike McCormick, AuthorThe most important life-lesson my father taught me was the importance of showing up, standing up and speaking up. In every man’s life there are challenging situations placed before him that he must face head on. And in these moments a man needs to cast away his fear and doubts and enter into the fray. My father taught me that when an issue stirs our heart, or when somebody is being exploited or marginalized in our presence, we must act. In these cases, a man needs to avoid the desire to hide or sneak away to safety. First, a man needs to make his presence known by simply showing up where he is needed. Next, he needs to take the very difficult step of standing up and being seen by all. It’s so easy to sit down in our chairs, when we need to get up on our feet and act. Finally, a man needs to open his mouth to advocate for what is right and true by speaking up. In a world where political correctness is the norm, I’m glad my dad taught me that silence is not an option when there’s something that needs to be said.
Michael Milton, AuthorI was an orphan. I did not have a father or even a father figure as I grew up other than ones in books and in the movies. Jimmy Stewart was a great model to me, but he was a little too far away to be of any real help. Years later a father figure came in my life who was the Rev. Robert Baxter. The thing that I learned from my "Pastor Bob" was to "minister out of weakness and not out of strength." People relate best to others who can be transparent with weaknesses rather than covering them with supposed or feigned strength. I have sought to follow him, however inadequately, and have found that his wisdom is spot on.

Kevin McNeese started NRT in 2002 and has worked in the industry since 1999 in one form or another. He has been a fan of Christian music since 1991.

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