Fathers are tenacious, hardworking, and willing to make sacrifices for their families. The job of being a father is extremely challenging and about much more than receiving accolades and high fives. Fatherhood takes work and a willingness to have difficult conversations. Fathers need to inspire their children, and teach them about inner strength, while showing kindness and discipline through their own words and actions. Fathers should give respect and in so doing they earn respect from those they love most. The list of responsibilities and duties of a father are exhaustive and limitless. This month we simply want to honor fathers who have instilled lessons in their children's lives, helping them grow into strong, capable adults.
Here is one such story that demonstrates the impact of fathers and grandfathers:
As a small boy growing up on a farm in Booneville, Arkansas, Glenn was one of seven children. His father, Everett was a hardworking farmer that labored from sun up to sun down, barely able to make enough money day to day to get food on the table. Like most families back in those days, Glenn's mother Edith, took on the household duties and spent time raising the children. Glenn's dad owned an old truck, and every Sunday the family would pile in with the kids in the back and head to church. Once a month that truck would also serve as the bus to the ice cream parlor a town away, to get ice cream cones for all, much to the kids delight. It was modest, but always a special treat.
The family of nine lived in a humble home but they were happy to have a roof over their heads. With three small bedrooms and bunk beds everywhere, they were crowded but content. Modern conveniences we know like dishwashers and washing machines weren't around yet, so cleaning was done by hand. Water came from a well on the property. An old ringer washer was eventually purchased and they used a clothesline for drying. They had chickens in the yard and yes, even a chopping block. The family had a garden where they grew most of their vegetables as there were no grocery stores nearby.
Home life in Arkansas was very different then. There were no computers, or cellphones, just a party line which 10 other families also used. Every call had to be brief and to the point, and you never knew who might be listening, which created a constant source of gossip in the small town. New clothes were not something Glenn experienced often. The kids typically went barefoot and could absolutely walk on anything, they had the toughest feet around. With seven children to care for, the family budget didn't leave much to spare for nonessentials other than the ice cream. The kids caught the bus for school each weekday morning.
On a random cold Arkansas afternoon an opportunity arose for Everett to move the family to sunny Santa Paula, California. Just days later, they were headed to “The Citrus Capital of the World.” Everett was hired as a foreman for a large citrus and avocado ranch known as the Limoneira. Once settled in from the move and the new job, Everett served as pastor of the small Limoneira Ranch church on Sunday mornings. He worked long hours at the ranch day and night providing for his family. Often, Glenn would venture into the orchards to locate his dad at dinnertime to pull him away from his work. One day, at the age of 13, Glenn discovered his father a mile from home collapsed next to a lemon tree, having suffered a heart attack. His dad whispered the words, “Get your mom.” He ran as fast as he could, but by the time help arrived, his father had passed away.
The Ranch assisted his family immensely after his father's death, and his mom worked in the Ranch General Store to support the children for many years. She did her best to meet their needs, but had a very different way of parenting following the loss of her husband. The kids were told they weren't smart and that they'd never go to college. There would be no sports, no fancy careers, and success would be limited to hard manual labor. The kids were told if there was a God, he was too busy to take an interest in their lives. Her message was that they were on their own. That is where the story took a far different turn.
Glenn had a vision, he had motivation and optimism. He wanted to get an education, wanted to excel at sports, wanted a career, and he wanted to marry and raise a family of his own. He continued to go to church and met his future wife on a Sunday School bus at the age of 15. It was love at first sight. Glenn worked hard, finished high school, and was an Olympic qualifying athlete in All Around Gymnastics. He learned the machinist trade to support his family, then married the love of his life, Marie. Glenn got a college education, pastored several churches, and ultimately started his own machine shop business, which he successfully ran for the rest of his career, overcoming many challenges along the way.
Glenn was an optimist, and he woke up each day with determination. He was adventurous, he raced motorcycles, and developed a love for flying, eventually purchasing his own airplane. Glenn had a contagious laugh, was a natural leader, and easily built strong friendships. He was an encourager and a family man. He knew what he wanted. He worked hard, played hard, and chose to pursue his dreams. He was a spiritual man and a pastor. He led a meaningful life of incredible blessing, leaving a legacy that has changed the lives of his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He was married to his wife, Marie, for 53 years before she passed away. Together they raised three children, all of whom went to college, married loving spouses, then raised their own children, eventually becoming grandparents themselves.
Glenn was my father, Jason White's grandfather, and he was Jason's inspiration in the creation of Great Life Senior Care. Jason's passion in life has mirrored his grandfather Glenn's in many ways, in his love for people, his servant attitude of helping others, and his deep commitment to his family and his friends. Glenn went home to heaven in 2018, but his legacy lives on!
So, Great Life Senior Care is not just a business, it represents a lifestyle of caring, family values, and serving others that has been several generations in the making. If Jason can encourage you or help you care for the loved ones in your life, please call him at (951) 679-9592.
To dad's and grandfathers everywhere, THANK YOU! You hold a special place in the hearts of your kids and grandkids. The hard work you give so freely coupled with your encouragement and support, are powerful tools to help the next generation discover and pursue their passions in life. You are worth celebrating this Father's Day as you lead the way!
Contributor, Great Life Senior Care.