Happy Father's Day – this is a special encore episode of my conversation with my mother last year. Enjoy!
Today, we take a few minutes to celebrate fathers all over the world.
I have been blessed by the example of my father because of his leadership, sacrifice, and generosity.
Scripture is clear that we are to honor our fathers (and mothers), and here are a few:
Exodus 20:12 – “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Ephesians 6:4 – “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”
As you can hear from these scriptures, we are to honor our parents, but just because we honor them, it doesn’t guarantee that life will be smooth sailing.
Sometimes Father’s Day, much like Mother’s Day, can be tough if your parent is not here with you. If your dad is here today, I hope you will get to spend a few minutes with him either in person or via digital technology.
Today, I have a special treat for you – I am having a conversation with my dad as he shares wisdom from his years of being a man of faith, husband, and father.
Now, here’s my conversation with my dad – Bob Anthold.
Dave Anthold: Dad, thanks so much for coming on the podcast. It's great that now you're on here since we had mom on here just a month ago. So thank you for being on the podcast.
Bob Anthold: Yes. You are very welcome. Thank you for inviting me, I think. We'll see how everything goes and then I'll know for sure.
Dave Anthold: Okay. So let's start off with an easy question. How did you and mom meet?
Bob Anthold: Well, that's pretty straightforward. I was working at my first job, which was in Milwaukee after I graduated from college. Looking around at different churches, I wanted to pick out a church where I could go when I was in town. I saw this girl who I thought was pretty cute. I didn't go that often because my hometown was only two hours north of Milwaukee, and I still had a lot of friends back there. So I would go home on weekends and enjoy that.
But when I would come back, I'd see this girl every so often. And I did ask her out once or twice, and we did date, but nothing really happened at that time.
We both had things that we were... We had agendas that we wanted to do, each of us. We just parted because there wasn't anything special on. I would see her from time to time and talk to her, but let it go at that. And then several years went by, and I decided to ask her out again. And I did so, and that was the start of a serious dating relationship. We got along really well, found out we had similar interests, that kind of thing. It took about a year and we were married. So it moved very fast at that time, even though I had known her for about five years at that time. So it went very fast when the Lord really knew that it was time, and she has been a wonderful wife.
Dave Anthold: I'm pretty sure mom's listening right now, so great add there at the end.
Bob Anthold: Thank you. But it's true.
Dave Anthold: So how long have you been married, and how long have you been a believer?
Bob Anthold: Well, we've been married for 52 years, and it's been a great time. There've been a few problems here and there, as all married people have, but it's really been a wonderful life. The time has gone fast, and we can't believe that we're already at 52 years and counting on a few more. So we'll see what the Lord has to say about that. But getting back to the other part of the question, I grew up in a Christian home. My folks were Christian and most of the people that they knew were Christian. I grew up in church. We had Sunday school, church services, youth groups, and surrounded by other Christians. When I was about 12... I had had a few nudges before that from the Lord, but I hadn't really accepted Him or asked Him into my heart. But when I was about 12, our pastor decided to have a special youth series for our youth group because there most of us had not reached that decision point yet.
He had a special, I don't know, two months I think, course on salvation, on Jesus and asking Him into your heart, following Him. As a result of that, I made my decision and was baptized when I was 12, along with my sister who had accepted at the same time. Later, she walked away for a while. And then I was with her in Florida when she came back and asked me to go down forward with her as she gave her life to the Lord again. At that point, she was on fire for the Lord. I was so glad that I could be there for that
Dave Anthold: Folks, if you're doing the math, he has been a believer for 70 years. If you add that to the 12, you can guess his age. I'm not going to do that math for you, but I can you that the fact-checking is correct. The math is correct.
Bob Anthold: I'm glad to hear that. At my age, my math still works. My brain still works.
Dave Anthold: Let's shift gears a little bit right now. What is some advice that you would give new dads or even just dads in general?
Bob Anthold: Well, I think the most important thing is to show your children that you love them. In order to do that well, you also have to model the fact that you love your wife. You have to let your children know that you love your wife. You don't have to do it just in private, but talk to her, tell her that when your kids are around so they get used to it. But the next thing is you need to teach the children to be obedient to you as well as to other people; grandparents, friends. They need to be taught not to be rude and to have good manners. Those are very important things for them as they are growing up.
But to go along with that, you need to set up some rules on what they should be doing as soon as they are old enough to understand those rules. Give them some chores to do when they are able. They can be very simple like setting the table. You can have them take the trash out when they're able to carry it without dropping it. And if they just put the napkins on the table to start with, they get the idea that they are helping and that they are part of the family, and that's important. In addition to that, you need to encourage them. When you give them something to do, and they don't do it perfectly, instead of saying, "Well, that wasn't good enough," you want to encourage the fact that they did it. And if you can, the things that you thought they didn't do quite right, maybe you can come up with a different way of telling them, "Maybe this would be a better way to do that." But you decide.
And they have to be taught that they need to make their own decisions. The most important thing for teaching them to obey, especially when they're young, is that when you tell them to stop or don't, that they do that immediately. They need to understand that the immediate part is important because that is for their safety or politeness or whatever the reason is. But there are times that you know dangers that they will not even begin to think about, such as running into the street. You can see a car coming over a car that's parked there. They can't. You might see a dog coming that you know that they will or will not get along with. So they need to know that they have to act immediately when you say stop or don't.
Same thing with putting their hands on something hot. You don't want them to understand to stop doing it just because you want to be able to explain to them a little bit later. But the immediate thing is that they stopped what they were doing. And those, I think, are the things that are most important for new dads.
Dave Anthold: What do you think it means to honor your father? Or how do you think that looks like today?
Bob Anthold: I think that honoring our father or your father is different today than it was when I was growing up, because culture has changed. We look at things differently now than we did. But honoring, in my view, is showing respect to your father as a person and in your actions and your words. Those are things that have not changed. The words that you choose may be different now than they would have been years ago, but honoring is showing respect, whether you agree or you disagree. And that includes not getting angry when we don't get our way. It doesn't make any difference how old or how young you are, there will be times when you disagree with your father.
Looking back at my own life, I can't recall a time that I ever saw my father really angry. He had good reasons to be, I'll say, unhappy with me or disappointed in me many, many times, but I never saw him angry, and he had very good reasons at that time. He was a good example. One of the things we need to cover is discipline and honoring your father comes into how we react to discipline as well. I remember that when I was growing up we lived in a house with a basement. One of the criteria for being punished was going to sit on the cellar steps for some length of time. Well, one time I decided that, "Okay, if I have to go and sit on the cellar steps. I'll go down in the basement and just look around a little bit, have a good time." Well, that didn't work out too well because I wasn't on the cellar steps when my dad came to get me. I can't remember exactly what happened, but I'll just say I never tried that trick again.
The way that he disciplined me was not physical but made it very clear that that was not the appropriate action, not the appropriate respect, and it would not be tolerated. That's something that I still remember to this day. My dad was a hardworking person. He only had an eighth-grade education, but he had a lot of good, common sense. He showed me how to do things, why they should be done in a particular way, as far as he was concerned. And most of the things that he told me made a lot of sense. So it doesn't make any difference what your dad is doing, how high his job is, or how low his job is, he is still your dad, and you need to respect him for that.
Dave Anthold: Over the years, I remember that you made sacrifices in your career for both my brother and I and for the family. I'm wondering if you can just go into maybe a couple of examples of some of the sacrifices that you made to be there for the family during that time.
Bob Anthold: I know that you were going to ask me that question, and I was thinking. But I honestly don't think that I feel like I have to make sacrifices for my family. I was blessed with a job that I loved, and it allowed me to be home most of the time without doing a lot of traveling or having a lot of late nights. There were times when I had to travel. There were times when I had to work late, then I couldn't be home. But most of the time I was home relatively about the same time. We could have supper together. As you and your brother got into high school, I was able to take you to school. That was not a sacrifice because I could drop you off, and I could get into work just a few minutes late. But it gave us a chance to be together, to talk about things that we wouldn't have a chance to talk about other times.
I remember that mom said that she got the most information out of the two of you when she picked you up at school. By the time I got home, I'd ask, "How was school today? What did you learn?" "Oh, it was okay." And that was about it because by that time you were into other things. The thing to remember here is that you have to make the most of the time that you have with the children, and that involves not being away for long lengths of time. But the other thing that I could say is we decided early on to send you to Christian school. And that was private, of course. We had to pay extra for that. We worked our budget around so that we could do that.
Now, that meant that we didn't have money to spend on some other things. There may have been some times when the two of you wished that you could get something, and we said, "We just don't have the money for that." So it was a sacrifice in that respect for the whole family. But as far as I was concerned, I was doing a job that I loved. I didn't want a different job. I know that there were times when it looked like I could have moved up the ladder a little bit, but that would've meant more traveling and less time at home. I decided that was not what I wanted. So the sacrifices really were not important because they were not sacrifices.
Dave Anthold: One of the interesting things is I went to work where my dad worked for 36 years. My earliest memories were that we would pick him up around when I was around five or six, and he'd come out, always waving at the guard, whoever that was at the time, and wanted one of those cool badges. And now I've got one of the cool badges, he just forgot to tell me that all the work came with one of the cool badges. But it's really interesting to look at it from a legacy perspective because when I first started working at the place, one of the things that I wanted to do was to make sure that I did not tarnish his reputation because he had an incredible reputation with the people that he worked with, his customers that he serviced. And so that was always in the forefront.
It's just funny over time to see how scripts flip and you think about now if he gets together with some of the retirees they're always asking, "Well, how's Dave doing?" Or, "You're Dave's dad, aren't you?" So it's funny to see some of these scripts that flip over time. I'm fortunate enough to work at the same place that my dad did for so many years, and I don't take that lightly. I think it's one of those beautiful things that we, maybe, necessarily don't see much anymore today.
Bob Anthold: I just want to say that it was nice having him working there while I was there. I was never worried about him tarnishing my reputation. It was very nice to have other people say, "Oh, you're Dave's dad." That was kind of interesting, but it was nice that they knew him and that they liked him and they were happy to know that he was my son. So that was great.
Dave Anthold: As we close up the conversation, you've talked about leading the family well, you've talked about advice for new dads, kind of how you and mom met, the lovey inaudible story. What is your hope for your children?
Bob Anthold: I think that's pretty straightforward and that is that my children know God, and that they have a personal relationship with Jesus. When you have that, what more can you want? Along with that, that they will follow him, that they will let him guide their lives, and that they be a good example for other people to follow along in their footsteps, to be kind to those, be friendly, to listen to people when they talk, especially when they talk about their families, to be able to sympathize with them when there is a loss. But all of that comes from having a personal relationship with God. And I think that is the most important thing.
The second most important thing that Marilyn and I had decided was we wanted you to have jobs that you enjoyed doing, just like I enjoyed mine. And when she was working, she enjoyed hers. But to have a job that you enjoy doing is not work. It's fun to go to work most days. There are days that you'd like to stay home, relax, do something totally different, and that just isn't possible. But that relationship of the job, and you have that if you are letting the Lord guide your life.
Dave Anthold: And is there one thing that you would recommend for fathers?
Bob Anthold: Yes, I have actually two things that I would like to recommend for fathers, and they have to do with probably discipline of your children. One of the sayings that I read, and I used this a lot when I was at work, but it reflects just as well to raising children, and that saying was, "Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional." What I mean by that is it does make a difference how close you are, what you're doing. There are going to be times when you have differences of opinion, that's conflict. If you let the conflict get out of hand, then it becomes combat. And when you get to the combat stage, nobody wins, and it takes a long time to regain that fellowship that you've had before. So, suggestion is that when you are disciplining, when you are discussing how to do things, be careful that you don't say, "This is what you have to do." Let them decide, and only if what they are deciding is going to hurt them or be bad, do you have to step in and change it. If it's not that way, then ignore the conflict. Just work through it. You can do it, but it'll go quickly.
The other thing is I think everyone needs to have a friend, whether they're at work, whether they're at church, or where they are, but somebody that they can talk to. Preferably for a father, it would be another man. They may or may not have already raised their family and be able to suggest things. They might be in the process of raising their family right now so that you can work through problems together. But you need somebody that you can talk to aside from your own family. If you can get somebody at work and at church, that's even better.
One of the things that I was very happy about when I moved out to California was the person that hired me, the HR man said, "Coming from the Midwest, you probably had most of your close friends at work. You will find out here in the West that you will probably have your closest friends in church. Because people move around so much more than they did in the Midwest, that you're going to lose friends from work regularly. But if you get friends at church, they will stay in contact." And he was absolutely correct. That is where I had my best friends and where I found my earliest friends. Coming from work, that was at a time when they could talk about church, Christianity, what you should do. Things are a lot different now, so it's harder, but I don't think that that is any different. They just can't say that now from a company standpoint. And that I am very sad about.
Just don't go to the combat stage and have friends that you can discuss things with to ease down when you have been approaching the combat stage. It's been great talking. I hope this turned out well, and I'm hoping that it helps somebody who is raising a family right now, that it will be words of wisdom from me. Thanks.
Dave Anthold: Well, thanks for being here, dad. So glad that both you and mom were able to join me on the podcast at some point. As we go, we love to close with a word of prayer, and I would love if you would pray a prayer of blessing over the fathers, especially on this Father's Day and the things that they have going on, the leadership roles that they have within the family. So if you would just close us in prayer.
Bob Anthold: Dear heavenly Father, I come before you now just asking your blessing on all those who are listening, especially on the dads as they lead the family, not autocratically or authoritatively, but with the help of their wives, that they can agree on how to do things. But when it comes to making decisions, the decisions should be agreed on, hopefully, ahead of time, and then come from the father so that the children see that he is a leader, that he is their father, that he is looking out for them. We just ask your blessing, God, on all of these fathers and on these families. And we just ask all of these things now in your name. Amen.
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