Today would have been my dad’s 66th birthday, so I thought I would write a little something in his honor. There are two things I’m reminded of on this day. First, I was blessed to have the best.
For almost 35 years, I had a father who was physically, emotionally, and spiritually invested in my life. He took the time, out of his very busy work schedule at IBM, to teach me how to shoot a basketball, throw a baseball, and kick a soccer ball. Then he either cheered me on or coached me at every sporting event. We went to Rangers baseball games, Mavericks basketball games, and Cowboys football games. He drove our family all over North America on marathon vacations. Spending time together was always a priority.
In all my years growing up, I don’t remember my dad ever complaining, dropping a curse word, or blaming someone for anything. He was a model of success, class, and integrity. He taught me to be a giver of my time, energy, and resources. He always went the extra mile to show people they were loved and cared for. I’m so thankful to have had the father every son deserves.
The second thing I’m reminded of on this day is that there are countless people around the world who don’t have a Dan Jonker in their lives. I cross paths with hundreds of children every year, whether it’s in the public school system or another nation altogether, who are not as blessed as I have been. For many, their fathers are completely absent from their lives for whatever reason, and others have one who is selfish.
This sad reality challenges me on a daily basis. My desire is for my dad’s legacy to live on in and through me, and it begins with my boys. I want to be to Noah and Jack everything my dad was to me and more. Heidi and I love, value, and pour ourselves into them on a daily basis, and our prayer is for them to do the same for others one day.
I also realize I have a responsibility to this generation. Every day I am afforded the opportunity to make an impact on the lives of the children of our community. My hope is they will know they are loved, valued, and supported—I’m in their corner. May they see Jesus in me, as I saw Him in my dad.
Happy Birthday, Dad. You are loved and missed dearly every day, but the legacy you left continues to change lives in a small, rural community and all over the globe.