My Dad and Me

In a world of over six billion people, what could be more boring than a bunch of look-alike clones? Everyone on this earth shares certain traits with others. Each person, though, shares more similarities with some people than with others. Strong similarities can be seen most frequently among family members, most likely because people in one family come from the same gene pool. My dad and I represent prime examples of people who share a lot in common. Regardless of how much we resemble each other, though, we are different people and always will be.

Setting aside the physical differences between my dad and me – I am significantly taller but have a smaller build than he – quickly reveals our similarities. Though the majority of our shared traits come as a result of the fact that I received many of his genes, our most important similarity– our faith in and fervent love for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – does not exist in anyone’s genes. Rather, this comes exclusively from God. Every day my dad goes out and fixes garage doors. Working in people’s garages on a daily basis, he gets numerous opportunities to talk to people. Just about every day, my dad has a chance to share his faith with others. Not only does he deal honestly and fairly with his customers, he frequently talks to them about his belief in God and explains why Jesus died 2000 years ago – for them. Likewise, I often must defend my beliefs in school. In past English classes, we have had many debates on a great variety of moral issues and I have been able to give my stance on “the issues,” based on what the Bible, God’s Word, teaches. Hopefully, I will have additional opportunities in American Government class and possibly even in English.

Among many other similarities between my dad and me there exists our tendency to undertake tasks spontaneously. Often my dad will stop in the middle of one activity to go do something else if he needs to do so. He does not feel the need to plan things out before doing them. On many occasions, without planning ahead of time, our family has gone to Starved Rock for the day. This summer, I discovered that I, too, spontaneously participate in activities. Many days my friend swung by my house and asked whether I wanted to run an errand or go somewhere with him, and I did. One day after completing a handful of errands in Wheaton, we continued to cruise around. When we got to the expressway, my friend asked which turn took us toward home. Feeling adventurous, I told him the wrong one, knowing it would lead to Chicago. Because my friend had never driven on the expressway before, we did not go all the way downtown. Instead, we got off in Oak Park, drove to neighboring River Forest, and shopped in Concordia University’s bookstore. Afterward, because my friend had to pick up some Amtrak tickets downtown, we took the train to the city. This past summer consisted of such adventures as this.

Despite the fact that my dad and I function spontaneously at times, we manage ourselves in an organized manner. It seems that keeping things organized and acting spontaneously do not go well together, but somehow they do. My mom, on the other hand, has a lack of organizational skills: the mail sits around the house for ages before someone reads it. Every so often I look through the mail and throw out all the three-month-old grocery advertisements along with other assorted junk. I remember one case in my youth in which my dad got sick of the messy house and put a great deal of assorted stuff in garbage bags in order to clean things up.

Although many similarities can be noticed between my dad and me, probably enough on which one could write an entire book, some differences do exist. Besides the fact that we differ physically, my dad is more blunt and confrontational than I. At one point in the past he thought that in order to treat others honestly he needed to speak his mind even when his comments hurt. He forgot tact, however. While in college, my dad was dating a girl who weighed a little too much. He foolishly told her so, and the relationship ended quickly. He learned his lesson not to speak his mind in every situation. Regardless, he still acts more assertively than do I. He does not mind confronting people when they do something with which he does not agree. I have a more difficult time confronting people. When I do, so as not to anger them, I beat around the bush rather than telling them blatantly that they are wrong.

While my dad and I are very similar even in such little things as our mannerisms, our similarities do not in any way, shape, or form make us the same person. No two people are the same, in spite of all their likenesses. If we were all exactly alike, what good would we be? If we all excelled in construction work and could build anything from a shed to a skyscraper, who would prepare food? If everyone cooked, who would treat the sick and injured? More fundamentally, who would make the equipment used for cooking? People identify us by who we are, by our differences – not by what we have in common with everyone else.