Father’s Day is chance to remember and be with family

Published 9:15 pm Saturday, June 18, 2016

By Larry Stover

Stover lives in Valley Grande and is pastor at Praise Park MInistries Church of the Nazarene.

Father’s Day evokes an immense diversity of emotions.

For some it generates an outburst of hatred toward someone who was never there or not even known. It invokes anger in others whose recollections of dad were total neglect, rejection or even abuse. Far too many children are growing up without the physical presence of a strong father figure. Our nation is reeling from the effects of the disintegration of the family.

On the other hand, I am very blessed. My father and I had a great relationship. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, I lived in Pensacola, Florida.  While many other youth were in a state of total defiance, disrespect, rebellion and alienation, my father and I were enjoying some of the best times of my formative years. Every week we found time to spend evenings fishing along the Gulf Coast or from the many fishing piers in the Pensacola area. We spent a lot of time talking and sharing stories of his younger days.

My family moved to Anniston in 1971. That fall I moved on to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend Trevecca Nazarene College (now University). During my freshman year, God called me into ministry. My father had been in pastoral ministry for about 15 years at that time. Our joint calling in life deepened the bond between us.

For the next 25 years we enjoyed so much time together. He taught me to be the “book fanatic” that I am. (There really is always room for one more!) Most importantly, he taught me to maintain my relationship with Jesus Christ. He shared with me valuable lessons from his experience as a husband, father and pastor. I am so blessed.

Eleven days prior to his 71st birthday, in 1995, dad went home to heaven. He left his wife and four married children a legacy that has shaped our lives across the years.

On this Father’s Day, I reflect on passing that legacy to the next generation. My children, Paula and Joshua, add great joy to my wife, Janet, and me. We have always got along well and enjoyed life together. We’ve been through athletics, academics, college, graduate school, as well as expanding our family to a daughter-in-law and grandkids. My kids gave me a sign I have posted in my office that reads, “I smile because you’re my dad.  I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it!” In reality, laughter is a cornerstone of our family.

If you have had a tough time growing up without a positive father influence, be determined that you are going to do all you can to develop your skills into being a father your children will be proud of.

Thanks again Dad for your legacy.  In loving memory; the Rev. Glen E. Stover, September 28, 1924 – September 17, 1995.  Memories make my life, “Simply Beautiful.”