I got that from my dad!
More and more these days, I find myself following in my dad’s footsteps. I seem to do things the way my dad did them. There are times I’m moved to do something for someone, and I’m reminded of a time my dad actually did the same thing. There have been times that I’m singing down the hallway, and I remember how he loved to sing. Other times that I give and remember when did something similar.
It’s Father’s Day, and it’s a time to remember the original Mr. Bailey. As in Roy Edwin Bailey Jr. He’s been gone for a few years now, but the legacy is alive and well. The mantle and the baton are being passed.
As I’ve grown older myself, I’ve recognized more and more the lessons my dad taught me. It has become clear that the mark he has left is indelibly etched on my personality, my values, my beliefs and my actions. Yes, it’s safe to say my dad made me into the man I am today. And I still have a long way to go to measure up.
Sure, there were the events and moments in time. My dad taught me how to tie a tie, he showed me how to change a tire, he helped me stay up on my first bike.
But more than those snapshots, he taught me how to care. How to be gentle, e taught me to respect and to have consideration for others. He taught me the right way. Not with his words. Not in a 1-2-3 step lesson. But by his example, and all the time in his quiet, remarkable demonstration of character and nature.
He taught me to use the spoon in the pickle relish before the mayonnaise when making tuna fish (yes, there’s a story there). He taught me to walk on the street side when I was with a woman. He showed me how to open car doors and how to let the ladies go before me. Often the memories are not in words, though, not in the notes, not in the thoughts of accomplishments or deeds. They are in the examples, the actions and those priceless, treasured moments when time stops to take that picture of a moment to never forget.
He is my dad. And, now I am becoming my dad. Thank you Roy Edwin Bailey Jr. All of the Bailey boys are carrying on your legacy!
Honestly, a day doesn’t pass that I don’t do or feel something that reminds me of his character or example.
That’s the way it’s supposed to be. That’s the way God intended it. His story didn’t end with his death, just as it didn’t begin when he was born. All because we are part of a bigger story, as John Eldredge likes to say.
I haven’t set out to emulate my dad — there’s no checklist — but I do every day. I don’t try to be like him in every situation, but I am. I don’t wonder what he would think in a particular case, but I often realize my mind works the same, and we think alike. Funny how it happens, but in many ways, I am becoming my dad. And that becomes more obvious to me each day I grow older.
One of my favorite memories of my dad is waking up early on a weekday. I would find him reading his Bible, his newspaper and drinking his coffee, the lamp on next to his recliner softly lighting up the quiet, peaceful dark of that living room in the house he built with my mom nearly 50 years ago now.
It’s all about legacy, as I told those gathered back in 2017 to remember the original Mr. Bailey. On that day, speaker after speaker called him teacher, example, friend, mentor, leader and life coach among other things. Indeed, he was all those and more. But I shall always know him as Dad.
I was blessed beyond measure to share the message of hope and LEGACY and to encourage friends and family to carry on his legacy to the next generation. I was excited to hear the stories and meet many people on whom my dad had a life-changing impact. Some of those stories I heard for the first time.
People may not remember him personally in 25-50 years, but they will know him because they know me. And his grandsons. Think about it. You have a responsibility to tell the stories, pass on the history, and hand off the anecdotes and word pictures to your next generation.
Legacy is more about the heart than an epitaph. It’s who you are, not what you do. It’s as much about what you don’t say as what you do say.
Sure, my dad taught me how to change a tire, he taught me much about business, he taught me about people, and he taught me a different approach to sales that I still carry today. But his quiet demeanor, character and faith, his respect for others and his passion for helping people is what lives on in me. And it’s what I come across every day when I’m working with people.
And, oh, how he loved to sing. Even in the waning years, when his memory faded and the days were shortened, he would come alive to sing the old hymns. Remarkably, while he couldn’t always remember the names of people or perhaps other more trivial things over his final years, he could sing the old hymns with confidence word for word and melody for melody. They were etched in his heart, not on his mind. Because He Lives, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Onward Christian Soldiers were as fresh in his heart as they were when he first learned them decades ago as a young man.
And he sang and sang until he passed. In fact, at his memorial service, the final scene everyone watched was the video from his hospital bed singing Onward Christian Soldiers. The message was as real as if he’d been standing on the stage singing it in person.
This morning, I’ll be sitting in my recliner, with my coffee, in the still quietness, reading (not a newspaper, but on a laptop), remembering him and sharing a bit of his legacy with you.
You see, you don’t have to just share the legacy to keep your dad’s name alive. You are the legacy that carries his name to another generation. Just as #mythreesons Josh, Jason and Destin are my legacy forward.
Absolutely, I miss my dad this Father’s Day weekend. I long to wake up and find him sitting in the quietness of that house on Moss Hill Terrace Road in Natchitoches. But it calms me to discover, almost on a daily basis, that I am becoming my dad.
And that is a treasure.
The Next Generation
And, while we’re here, a word about #mythreesons, who will carry on the Bailey Legacy to another generation I may never know. Couldn’t ask for better standard-bearers. One carries the mantle, another the torch and another the baton. Together, they will represent the Baileys to the future and beyond.
Josh, Jason and Destin are Classic Bailey and perfect examples of their Papa, who would take them downtown to feed the ducks and made them Eggos on Saturdays. They are their own men with their own futures, but will always be known as Bailey and carry the traits of goodness and kindness and a willingness to help others. They are the #baileylegacy for future generations.
They got those traits in part because I got that from my dad! Happy Father’s Day!