Old School: Lessons from My Daddy
Willis Bryant Evans, born November 28, 1921, to Arthur Lee and Roselle Evans. He was the third of three boys. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II and saw action in Europe, including at D-Day and at Bastogne, Belgium and the Battle of the Bulge. Upon his return to civilian life, he attended the University of Alabama but dropped out after two years. He began a sales career that ended with a very successful time as a new car salesman for Chevrolet. His parents were among the first Christians in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He would serve the church of Christ in Northport, Alabama as a Bible class teacher and deacon until his death in 1987. He was known as Mr. Evans, Clem, Bobo and the Big Tuna. I called him daddy.
I learned much from this wise man. I’d like to share some of that with you.
Pay Attention When You Shave.
Many mornings, dad would leave for work with small pieces of toilet paper stuck to his face. He’s cut himself shaving. Pay attention to what you are doing he would warn.
Good fathers teach their children about life. Our kids haven’t been down this road before, and we have. Despite the incredible level of intelligence many children possess, they are not always wise. They need a father to help guide them through the rough spots. Jesus had an earthly father who likely taught him about life. If our Lord needed a father in his youth, our children do too.
Pay Your Bills On Time
I will never forget daddy’s spiral bound notebook. Each month had a page, and on this page, he would record every bill as it arrived. When he paid the bill, he would circle it. He could tell you how much his water bill was from five years ago. You see, we were not wealthy, but we never wanted for anything important. When I got my first car loan, it was based only on his name. They didn’t even run my credit. In fact, the banker was not even there when I showed up. He left the papers with a note telling me where to sign. Why? Because he knew my dad.
The Bible teaches us that we should always be honest people (Matthew 5:37; Proverbs 6:1-5). We manage our money; not the other way around (1 Timothy 6:6-10). Good fathers strive to teach their children important lessons.
God Always Comes First
Daddy was sick for the last few years of his life and was hospitalized some. He couldn’t attend services. But I never remember a single time daddy missed services otherwise – not one. He was a picture of commitment and devotion to his Lord. If there was a gospel meeting, we were there every night. We attended on Sunday and on Wednesday for midweek Bible study. We went because it was a time to honor God and deepen our own knowledge of his word. Plus, we knew that there was extraordinary value in fellowship with God’s people.
Daddy’s dream was for me to preach the gospel. He never saw me preach fulltime, but he made sure I was prepared. Daddy died exactly one month before my graduation with a degree in Bible, but I assure you that today, he is with me every time I step into the pulpit.
I was blessed by such a great man as the leader of my family. His is a standard I shall never reach although I try. I pray that every father reading this will consider the vital marks of a great father and pursue them relentlessly. Our sons and daughters need fathers who are fully engaged in parenting. Are you?