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Proverbs 22:6 reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” This is an unassailable and universal truth. My father modeled and exampled the “way”, for me, his child. Throughout his life, he consistently demonstrated integrity, ethics, and unfailing character. He trained me by living and exampling those very “Kingdom Values” that Christ taught his disciples. In living this way, he gave me the gift of the compass.
This compass my father gave me always points to true North principles, and is ingrained in my heart because my father instilled those values and principles in me through his living example. There are times I am lost, frightened, and alone. There are times I become confused regarding the best decision to make, or the best course of action to take. I may stumble and fall. At those times, I know I can look at my compass, find my way back home, see the path, clear the confusion, and straighten my course. It always points to true North principles.
My father knew his “Kingdom Values” would always lead him to make the right choices in life. You see, his very nature was based on those principles. And, through his simple wisdom, he gave many people the gift of the compass. He touched many hearts.
I have numerous humorous stories about my Dad, but one in particular demonstrates the power of this simple wisdom. I was a young man about to enter into marriage with my wife. My father had already been married to my mother for about 40 years. So, I was seeking some sage-like advice on marriage from him, seeking the “secret” of success. Seeking the quick fix, the magic pill. I expected something like, “Son, the secret to a successful marriage is communication, or trust or honesty, etc.” Well, I asked my father, “Dad I’m about to get married, what advice can you give me.”
He looked at me very seriously and said, “Son, the only thing I can tell you is that the first 20 years are the hardest.” That was it! That was all he said! I was completely dumbfounded and taken aback. I laughed at the time, and that statement became a familiar joke among our family for years. But what I want you to see is the wisdom and the principle behind that simple humorous statement.
You see, what my father was saying to me was this; “Son, there is no easy answer to having a lasting loving relationship. There is no one particular way to succeed in marriage. No magic pill, no self-help book, and no marriage guru can show you how to succeed. Son, you have to commit yourself to loving your wife forever.” Now please understand what he was telling me in essence. He was saying, “Son, you need to commit to your wife for the long haul…It is not going to be easy sometimes…Sometimes the going is rough, but if you govern your life through those principles I have shown you, your marriage will be long and filled with love, respect, courtesy, and joy.”
I want to remind everyone who my father has touched that he gave you a little bit of that compass also. As you reflect on his life, and as you honor this man of honor, know that he exampled true North principles for you also. Think back and remember, and you will recognize that simple wisdom.
Paul Ryan Villanueva