There is a huge debate over Nurture v. Nature. Are we made a certain way? Or, have we developed a certain way? To be quite honest, I have no idea. I used to think that it was all nature. We have a natural inclination and that was that. Now, that I am a father, I think it is a “both/and” situation. We do have natural tendencies, but we are also shaped by our father too.

While I have some natural bent to being a father, I do see how the happiest or funniest of memories have developed me into wanting to develop those happy memories with my daughter. Below are three stories about my father and my late grandfathers and how they impact me as a father.

My Dad

I remember when I was a kid, dad would take my brother and I strawberry picking. We would get up early, drive west toward George, Washington (I know, so clever). We would stop at McDonalds to get breakfast and continue our trip. We would go out into a berry field and fill our buckets and throw berries at each other. I’m sure my brother and I were not always so cooperative, but I look back now and love those memories.

My dad has always been there for us. He is generous and kind. He has worked hard to support our family. He has watched thousands of sporting events between my brother and I. And I’m sure he has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on us, and for us. My dad is truly the best.

Grandpa Hersh

Grandpa liked to fish. He had a boat we would go out on sometimes, or we would fish off the docks. But he loved going out and fishing. I remember once sitting out next to Grandpa on a dock with my dad and brother. He would nod off a little bit, and every time he felt a little tug, he would wake up and reel in another fish. I could not sit still, but grandpa could nap. After a while I would start touching grandpa’s line with a stick and he would wake up and get nothing. That afternoon he thought he had a hundred bites. But it was his stinker grandson!

Grandpa loved to have fun, play games, and teach little lessons. He was a true intentional man.

Grandpa Ford

Grandpa was hard of hearing and had a different sense of humor than the rest of the family. My mom’s family likes to tell stories, jokes, and laugh until we cry. I can remember countless times when I would be sitting next to grandpa and notice that while we were laughing he would have a delayed reaction. I later realized that he would turn off his hearing aides and then only laugh when everyone was laughing, so he could be part of the jokes, even if he thought they were inappropriate!

Grandpa was a hard worker. He loved his family. And though he had it hard, he is the reason that I am more observant, like the pro football team that I do, and know that sometimes it’s ok to laugh a little late.

Who Are We Going to Be for Our Children

These three men enjoyed being around my brother and I. They each had a different role in our lives that helped develop me into who I am today. I have clear memories of them and these memories encourage me to want to be a great dad.

I know that my dad and my grandfathers would only want me to take the best parts of them and add it into the dad that I am today. And that is important. And I know, not all of us have or had dads or grandpas around. You may not know anything about the men in your life before you, or you may not want anything to do with them. I do believe that you have had other father figures in your life that helped shape you.

I want to encourage you to think about the dad that you are today. What are the best parts of who you are? Did they come from the fathers before you? Did they come from a mentor? Going forward, make it a practice to allow yourself to be shaped, little by little, by the examples of your past. Let their legacy grow in a never-ending story with you.

Share in the comments about a story that you remember from your dad. What makes it so memorable? How does it shape who you are today?

***This post was adapted from Happy Father’s Day, a post from my blog that I shared to remember my grandfathers and to create a different type of Father’s Day card for my dad. If you liked this post, go over and check out others on my blog and let me know what you think!***

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Jack Heimbigner
Jack always knew that he was going to be a husband and a father. Now, he spends much of his time perfecting the craft of being hubby and dad in an intentional fashion.