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Fixing Cars and Thoughts on Fathers

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Today wasn’t a normal day for me–I worked on my wife’s car. I’ve never really been “Mr. Fix-It”, but I was willing to give it a shot today. For a few months now we have been forced to get in to Bethany’s 20 year old Toyota Corolla (which I call “Black Magic”) from the passenger side. The door handle on the driver’s side decided it didn’t feel like working and we’ve been perplexed as to how to fix it for some time now. But after months of this annoying problem, I decided that today I would fix it. Actually, it really wasn’t all that hard and if it were not for the learning curve of how to disassemble a car door, it probably wouldn’t have taken that long. Thankfully I have 2 fathers (birth father and father-in-law) that were able to guide me through some of the processes to keep me moving forward in my mission. With only about 3 hours of work–including driving to a from Pep Boys twice–I finally got the door fixed, put back together, and the wife is quite happy. But the point isn’t that I fixed the car, it’s really about dads.

My dad really was Mr. Fix-It. I’m convinced that man could fix anything and everything that is mechanical. I’ve seen him take engines apart, air conditioners, thermostats, dishwashers and many other items and put them back together in a functional fashion. The same goes for my father-in-law. He too is a very handy guy and though I can’t say I grew up seeing him fix things, I’m confident that he could get the job done if need be. I guess it just comes with territory of being a dad. And as I drove around town today picking up parts and getting the right tools, I felt like a got a glimpse of being a dad. Dads do things because they love their families. They also love accomplishing tasks and getting jobs done–that’s probably a guy thing too, but mainly it’s a dad thing. Dads have to be able to think outside the box and get creative when they don’t know what they’re doing. They have to be able to learn on-the-fly and act like they know what they’re talking about to the “super knowledgeable” sales guy at that auto parts store. They have to be confident in front of their wives and convince them that the car door will actually work again and that the scratch they just made on the door isn’t noticeable or already existed. Dads have to take their Saturdays off and work the yard, fix the car, mow the grass, clean the garage, etc. Even today when I called my own dad for help he was out in the yard and I quote “taking these 1/2 inch weeds, loading them in a wheel barrow, and putting them a big pile so I can burn them.” That’s just what dads do.

I know tomorrow is Father’s Day and many will celebrate with gifts and big meals, which is great. But can I urge you to thank your dad for the many hours he spent putting bikes together so you could ride with your friends. Thank him for playing catch with you so you could learn to throw the ball just right. Thank him for going to work at 4:30 every weekday so you could live in a house and play in the yard that he mows. Thank your dad for taking care of your mom and bringing her flowers, cards, chocolate and remembering their anniversary. Thank him for showing you the way to hold a screw driver, start the grill, hold a baseball bat, and chop wood. Don’t forget to thank him for showing you how to fix a leaky faucet and at the same time, how not to fix a leaky faucet. Thank dad for buying you cleats, shin guards, and a soccer ball so you could go to practice equipped. Thank him for taking you to “urgent care” when soccer practice didn’t go as planned. Thank him for showing you how to tie a tie, drive a car, and how to apply for a job. Thank your dad for whatever you’ve learned over the years that you are just starting to apply in your life. For me, it was fixing a car door, but for you it might be something different–either way, you know you wouldn’t have been able to do it without him.

2 replies on “Fixing Cars and Thoughts on Fathers”

Let’s be honest, it is by God’s grace alone that Black Magic didn’t kick the bucket 10 years ago. I’m impressed that you weren’t trying to fix the transmission and that it was only the door handle.

Have you ever wondered how it is that fathers learned to do so much and we(kids) have not. I’ve learned a lot from my father, and yet there’s a lot that I still don’t know. I watched as my dad installed a new back door, and I would have probably had to pay someone to do it (maybe him)! My theory not that fathers didn’t or weren’t willing to teach, but that, in a world of everything at your fingertips, we as the younger generation either didn’t care or were too lazy to learn, and would rather just have someone else do it.

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