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Father Knows Best - Advice from Dads and Granddads
Contributor Two Contributor Two

"Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance."
~ Ruth E. Renkel

In honor of Father's Day, we asked Homecoming readers to submit stories of the best advice they ever received from their fathers or grandfathers. As always, they rose to the challenge and sent in some wonderful essays.  Some entries made us smile and others brought a tear to our eyes, but all of them shone a spotlight on men whose examples and words spoke profound truths to our readers. Whether these stories bring cherished memories to mind or encourage you to be the best mentor you can be to those younger than you, we hope the Lord will bless you through them!

There were many excellent entries with wonderful advice, which made it very hard to pick the winning ones. So congratulations to the three writers who took top honors: Sheila Lynn, Vicki Hornsby and Grace Keller! And without further ado, here are their winning "Father Knows Best" stories, as well as many of the other wonderful entries we received...

I would like to tell you about my grandfather. He was the most kind, generous and loving man. He passed away at the age of 93.
When he was 19, he was a Golden Gloves Prize Fighter with hopes and aspirations for the Olympics.  He was very talented and had great potential. But, he also was in love with my grandmother.  They married and she soon found out that it was too hard for her to see him get "beat up" in a boxing match. So much, that she begged him to quit.  And so, being the loving husband and caring so much for his new beautiful bride, he chose to walk away from his dreams of becoming a Champion Prize Fighter.  He would never know if he could have made it.
Later in life, they had three daughters.  My mother was the middle daughter. He was very content and happy with the life he had chosen.  He loved his family with all his heart and would have done anything for any one of us.
When I was a little girl, about 11 or 12 years old, we had one of many conversations that I remember so much.  He was such a wonderful grandfather.  He was my "Pop" and I loved him very much. He told me about his fighting and how much he had dreamed of, as well as his love for his family and wife. The advice he gave me still rings true to this day. What he told me changed my life. He said "don't ever look back and wonder if you could have."

What an impact that made on my life.  I have carried it with me in all that I have done and all that I plan to do. Such sound, good advice to carry anyone through life.  Life is too short to be filled with regrets.  Even if we try something, and we fail, at least we will know if we could have. I hope that I never live with regrets and I pray that I will always at least "try".
My grandpa, my "Pop."  I will always cherish the memories and the advice.
— Sheila Lynn

My father is a man of few words. On my 14th birthday, he took me out to lunch at a restaurant that he claims to despise. He ordered a knife and fork sandwich as he complained about their small portions and limited menu options, but I knew that he was having a good time. My mother had bought a purity ring for me, and she was hoping that Dad would give me a little talk along with the ring. After we finished lunch, Dad pulled out a package and handed it to me. I opened it, and found the ring inscribed with the words "true love waits." I looked up at Dad, and he looked very nervous. He asked me as his face began to turn red, "Uhh, what does it say?" I replied, "True love waits." There was a moment of silence, and then he quietly said, "That's right, Grace." I grinned at him, and he looked more comfortable since he'd said something like Mom wanted him to.

When I got home, Mom asked me, "What did you get, honey?" Of course, she obviously knew. I showed her, and then she asked, "Did your Dad say anything when he gave it to you?" I replied, "He asked me to read it and then he said, 'That's right, Grace.'" She looked exasperated and then we both burst out laughing. But really, I don't think any long talk would have stuck with me nearly as well as Dad's simple 'That's right.' As a child, I was always a daddy's girl who knew that my dad was the smartest, strongest and best guy in the world. I knew that because Dad told me it was so. Sometimes a father's simple phrases can mean more to his child than anything and end up being the best advice. I will treasure my father's advice in my heart, never forgetting his words of wisdom, such as, "Get your head screwed on straight!"
— Grace Keller

As a "preacher's kid," I have received a lot of advice from my daddy throughout the years, like "You will get a paddling if you don't behave in church" and "Don't be mad at your little brother for chewing gum while he is supposed to be singing with you."  This is just some of the advice that made me who I am today. I was taught all of the Christian values from day one, but one piece of advice stuck out from the others.
In my early 20s, I went through a divorce that I was so ashamed of—plus, my daddy was the minister that married us.  I had been taught that you married forever, but due to many unforeseen problems and outside forces, forever was not possible.  I went home crying and told my father that I was so afraid that my church — his church — our family church — would not let him be their pastor anymore if I got the divorce. Daddy held me and hugged me and then told me this, "If that happens, which I don't think it will, then it is God's plan for me, your mother and my family.  God will not abandon you through troubles and trials.  He will always be there for you just like your mother and I will be."

Our church enveloped me in its love and open arms and 35 years later, we are still together (the church and I).  My Father is still pastor of the East Nashville General Baptist Church and even though age is coming upon him, he still preaches and teaches those wonderful values that he instilled in his children.
—Vicki Hornsby

The best advice my daddy passed on to me was this: "It does not matter whether you are digging a ditch, cleaning a toilet or the President, do it right and do your very best while doing it."

I have remembered this often as an employee, wife and mother. I was a preacher's kid, am a preacher's wife, mother of three daughters and one of seven siblings.  We lost Daddy on December 18th, 2004, to a brain tumor that was diagnosed in October of that year.  My husband and three daughters lovingly allowed me to spend the last five weeks of his life by his side.  What I will always remember seeing and hearing him do as I would return home for visits: I would hear him early every morning in their family room talking to his Heavenly Father and praying for all of us by name, mentioning our needs and speaking a blessing on our lives.  I miss his telephone calls...  
Thank you for the chance to honor him once again by these words.
— Betty Bays

There are many things that I can say about my dad....but I want to share some things that I learned from my grandfather.

Pa died when I was only 8 years old, but the things I learned from him in those short years will never leave me.  When he was 8 years old himself, he broke his ankle running in a creek bed.  As we all know, in 1922, they did not just run to the doctor for everything.  His family bandaged him up the best they could, and he walked with a limp the rest of his life.  Near the end of his earthly life, you could tell it hurt him.  What I learned from this was the fact that he never used a handicap parking place when he well qualified for one.  No, instead, he would always say that there is someone else who needed it worse than him.  He approached life that way.  Be it physical or emotional pain, there is always someone who is worse off than me.  I still live by that rule today and remind myself when my "pity party" starts.  Pa, I am glad that you have your new body and no longer limp!  I miss you here but I am happy you are there waiting on the rest of us to join you!!

But this is not all....
I went to church with Pa some and went to nursing homes with him to help him sing and minister to the sick and elderly.  He gave so freely of his time to help others.  This was a very important lesson.  I ended up volunteering in that same nursing home some years later.  The sense of volunteerism grew from there and I served the community in a number of ways through the years.  All because of his example.

Pa was also in a Southern Gospel quartet.  They never made it big — don’t believe they really wanted that. However, they did travel from time to time to sing at revivals and tent meetings some.  They did make an album that was played on our local AM radio stations.  I still love to hear them!  Pa taught me my first song on the piano, "Amazing Grace."  To this day, some 32 years later, I still play it the same way. I also sang in a quartet for a while.  I still love the old hymns and also love Southern Gospel.  He instilled something in me with music that will last my lifetime, and I thank him for it!

Again, it was only a few years that I got to spend with him.  Can't wait for eternity so I can play for him again and sing with him.  My Pa was a Godly man, and the morals he instilled in me are rock-solid, and I am trying to teach my boys the same.  He was quite the family leader, and I owe him a lot.  If I am 1/4th the dad that he was and my dad is, then my boys will turn out okay.  And what more does a father want?   For his children to turn out to be good people and to love the Lord.  God commands the fathers to be leaders of their families and holds them accountable.  I am thankful today to God for providing me with such a heritage to learn from, and pray that He leads me in everything I do.
— Andy Vernon

The best advice my father, Eugene Serrano, ever gave me was short, sweet and to the point — “always be aware of your surroundings." It was something he would always drill into us when we were young, and we tended to make a joke out of it because he was always saying it.

But in retrospect, it's a huge statement with profound consequences — good or bad. Yes, being aware of your surroundings can help you from running into something or someone, whether it's bumping into someone or crossing the street. From a spiritual sense, it's even bigger. Being aware of my surroundings can bring me to God's blessings; not being aware can bring me face to face with the adversary.

I thank my dad for that bit of advice. While it's one of the handful of statements he's always drilled into me (and still continues to do so), it's monumental, and I thank God for allowing my dad to be such a great spiritual leader in our home and church.
— Belinda Serrano

I remember being little — about 4 years old — and we had just moved to Oklahoma where my Dad was stationed. We drove by some houses, where I saw the cutest doll ever on someone's porch, and I said "I wish I had that doll!" Then my Dad, with a very stern voice, told me not to ever say that again. He told me I could wish for a doll like that but not for someone else's doll. It took me a while to completely understand at that age, but as I got older I understood it. His advice has stuck with me so many times when I see something someone else has--a new car, house or whatever. I can still hear his voice. Thank you, Dad, and I miss you so much!
— Linda Jean Thompson

I was raised without a biological father, but I had three stepdads. So as a young woman, I had to overcome a lot of hard times. One thing that I have told my son, two grandsons, and a nephew, is that it is very important to be an honorable person.  From the things they say, to how they treat their mothers, sisters, other women, and also themselves, to be an honorable man. If they are honorable, they will think of others first and treat themselves and others with respect. I also tell them to use their dad, Grandpa Jon and uncle as  good examples of being an honorable man. They can respect all of these men and know that they can count on them to do what is right.
— Lyn Ridenour

I never received advice from my father; he lived the example. He was a godly man who worked all hours on the family farm to give us kids all our needs, if not necessarily our wants--we had a house, clothes and food. My dad taught us to work as a family, picking acres of vegetables that Momma and Grandma would can and freeze. We raised calves that a momma cow didn't want when she had twins, and we sold those calves when they were bigger to buy our school clothes. My father loved us and loved our momma. So you see, I think the best advice is never given, but lived by example. Just as Jesus showed us how to live.
— Dawn Ferguson

I was raised by my maternal grandparents.  The best advice my grandfather ever gave me wasn't in spoken words--it was in actions.  He never turned his back on anyone that needed help and always offered his help to anyone with a need.  Sometimes to me, it seemed even to stretch his ability, but it always was rewarded.  He is now in heaven, and I hope he knows my heart is full of the same kind of affection toward all mankind.
— Thomas McFaden

The best advice I ever received from my father was to go to college. He drove me up to a beautiful Christian college, helped pay for my tuition and set me free. I made some of the best friends of my life there, got much closer to Jesus while staring up into the redwood trees, and met my husband there.
Fathers do know best!
— Tracy Light

The best advice EVER was when my dad said, "Your name is your most prized possession...don't ever mar it.  A good name is better to be chosen than great riches."   Awesome advice from the best daddy in the world!
— Jean C. Ruis

The best advice that my father gave to me :
"Always do the best you can at what you are asked to do, and never blame anyone else for what you do wrong."
— Audrey Stapf