Honoring My Four Fathers


This is the first official post since purchasing this domain in 2007.

What better way to start things off here, than by honoring Dad’s?

Today is Father’s Day 2011 here in the United States.

I feel very privileged to be counted among Dad’s honored today. It’s my 12th year.

Funny thing…

As an adult, I continue to learn more about my parents when reflecting back on my childhood. Today is one such reflection. On Dad’s. Those who influenced me and have had a hand in making me the man I am today.

My Biological Father

As is common in western culture, my parents divorced. Fortunately they stayed together long enough to have 4 children. Todd, Traci, Tammy, and Travis.

In March this year I visited my dad. What always shines through is his smile. He has always had a warm smile, and before long others find themselves smiling with him for one reason or another. I believe that has served him well facing life’s challenges.

I have found smiling, or more specifically, laughter, to be a “refresher of my soul” in difficult times. I attribute this, in part, to my Dad, thank you.

Go Big. He was a Marine. When I left Ohio to attend Arizona State University over 20 years ago, Dad was there encouraging me, and helping me along the way. He drove me there during spring break to tour the campus, rejoiced when I was accepted, and gave me a weekly allowance during my first year there.

He encouraged me to learn a foreign language, study overseas, and see the world. I have been fortunate to have done much of that. Thanks Dad.

Dad, I look forward to learning more from you and make even more memories together. I thank God he chose you to be my Father. I hope my life makes you proud.

My Stepfather

My mom was smart. She had 4 kids and decided to remarry. I was 7.  Suddenly we were a blended family, more accurately a “blending” family. And as they say, “blending families never stop blending.”

I called him Joe. Looking back, I wish I would have called him Dad more often. It was just as easy, and more accurate. A Navy veteran, he was an amazing provider with a passion for life and the outdoors.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get passed my own issues to enjoy the pleasure of calling him Father. Now I see it clearly, he was a Father.

He taught me many things growing up. How to: build a deck, roof a house, fish, shoot a rifle, hunt, weld, fight for what you believe in, ride an ATV, ride a motorcycle, and so much more. He taught me the value of hard work.

16 years ago this weekend, Joseph C. Celli was tragically murdered. It still hurts as if it was  yesterday. I hope to see you again… Dad.

My Grandfathers

Pop-Pop. My mom’s Dad was of Russian/Slovak decent. He was a coal-miner in his early years, and later owned his own service station for much of his adult life (now the Papa John’s Pizza on Mentor Ave, Mentor, OH). Pop-Pop taught me the value of hard work, entrepreneurship, and the love of baseball.

Joe and Pop Pop Playing Cards

A loyal Cleveland Indians fan, he told me once, he hadn’t missed a Tribe game on the radio or TV in over 40 years. He also was quite a catcher in his day, and had the disjointed fingers from so many foul tips to prove it.

He passed away in late 1998 after his “lease” was up. Thank you Pop-Pop for the valuable lessons you taught me. I am indebted to you.

Pee Pa and Mee Ma Campbell

Pee-Pa. My Dad’s father, Warren, was an only child. A lifetime of ministry, who passed on a football scholarship to Minnesota to go to Bible college in Springfield, MO where he met my grandmother. He demonstrated a love for people that was simply contagious. He read the Bible to me, and taught me its stories and lessons.

He was a fighter pilot and chaplain in World War II, and a bricklayer during my father’s younger years.

He taught me what it was to have a relationship with God, not in words but in deeds. Most importantly he encouraged me to consider the Bible, and if I concluded it was true, to get serious with God!

Thank you Pee-Pa, for telling me the truth, and living the truth when I didn’t want to hear it. You were God’s instrument of choice and now I too have a relationship with Him.

The Most Important Father

I’m so grateful to have the life experience with Fathers. It has challenged me and helped me to become the man I am today, and to strive to be the best father I can be.

I’m sure each father mentioned here would agree, they were far from perfect.

  • My biological father moved across the country at a critical time in his children’s lives.
  • My stepfather let his Italian blood get the best of him at times. In fact, he once yelled so loud it shut off the television (same frequency as the ‘off button’ on the remote!).
  • Both my Grandfather’s, as exemplary as they were, perhaps learned life’s lessons later than they wished when it came to being there for their families.

Man will let you down. Men will let you down. And yes, Father’s let children down. Some have made choices causing great pain to those most dear. I’ve concluded, this is God’s design, that we might run to Him.  His desire is for us, and we respond…toward him, or away from him.

As a Father, he loved His children so much, he gave up His only Son to take the punishment that I/we deserved. What kind of father would do that?

This isn’t just a good Father, or great Father, or even an exceptional Father, no this is a Heavenly Father. The only words available to describe such a Father.

My Outlook as a Father

I’m grateful for the father’s in my life. One wasn’t enough to raise me I guess, I needed 4! And now it’s my turn.

Children are wiser to father’s than they often lead on. As my sons get older, I’ve found… they often see right through me. Fortunately, they have another attribute which I’ve had to tap into oh so often, they are forgiving.

So while perfection is not the mark I’ll hit, I take comfort in the fact that if my father’s weren’t perfect maybe I’m not supposed to be either. In fact it is God’s design that I run to Him, depending on Him to be the kind of father He wants me to be. The very kind children are longing for.

Thank you Heavenly Father.