His lessons about life taught me no one is trustworthy.

His lessons about love taught me to control or be controlled.

His lessons about tolerance taught me no one is smart enough, good enough, or fast enough.

His lessons about security taught me danger is around every corner.

His lessons about confidence taught me if I didn’t think his way, there was hell to pay.

It’s taken years to undo the damage from those lessons.

But it was his lessons about stubbornness that backfired on him.

It was the one trait he taught me that actually saved me from him.

Once I made up my mind to get free of him, that stubborn streak served me well. My mom told me recently that when he read my letter estranging myself from them in 2001, his response was “I’ve lost total control!”

Indeed, by the time I’d written the letter, I was fully committed to doing whatever it took to change myself. For me, that meant creating the safety and breathing space of estrangement; even at the cost of his fury and the confusion of other family members. He had undeniably lost total control and I was only able to see it through because of God’s grace, and the very stubbornness Dad taught me.

It is the one lesson he taught me I am grateful for, and probably one he regretted.

How about you?  What lessons are you grateful for from your Dad?