Father’s Day was just over a week ago. I have 4 amazing daughters and every day, there is a little “pinch-me-i’m-dreaming feeling when I wake up, or when I come home from work and they greet me with hugs, love and smiles. I love being a dad. Maybe it is because I had a father who was present in my life. He encouraged me in school, sports and life. He taught me a lot about God, problem solving and seeing others around me. I am grateful for the dad I have and hope to give much of what he gave me to my daughters.
One of my favorite lessons to teach kids is helping them understand the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6. Because the prayer starts with “Our Father…”, I like to start by asking the kids what kinds of things their dad’s do. What is a dad’s role. The answers that come are great – protector, provider, teacher, caregiver, loving, discipliner, just to name a few. Now some kids I work with don’t have great examples of a dad, and that is OK for my lesson because God is the perfect father so all the things that our earthly fathers may fall short in, He offers.
Today’s featured player is Chase Anderson of the Milwaukee Brewers. He brought the above to mind as I looked into his story and the relationship he had with his late father and that he shares with his newborn son.
More on that later. First, a little background on Anderson. He was drafted 3 times, in round 42 of the 2006 draft and round 40 of the 2007 draft. he didn’t sign either time, and in 2009 he was drafted again, this time in the 9th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He signed with them and began his career shortly after. He made his debut with Arizona in 2014. He won his first 5 Major League starts, tying an MLB record. He was traded to the Brewers before the 2016 season. He is off to a great start this season, sitting with a 6-2 record and a sub 3 ERA in 15 starts.
Anderson is a new father as well. Robert Hunter Anderson was born last November to Chase and his wife Anna. As you can read in this story from mlb.com, The name given to their son carries lots of significance. Robert is Chase’s first name (he goes by his middle name) It was also Chase’s dad’s name and his grandfather’s name. Hunter was Anna’s maiden name (I find it fun that a “Hunter” married a man named “Chase” – seems they were meant to be together). The article also shares that Chase had a great relationship with is father, also named Robert before his passed away in 2012 of a heart attack.
The article continues, sharing how Chase honors his father before each game he pitches. From wearing his father’s clothes to each home game to scrawling his initials in the dirt on the mound for each start, Chase honors his father and the important role he played in Chase’s life. He says “I’ve seen a lot of his characteristics come out in me, … I hope I can be half the dad my dad was to me, and raise this little man up to be a good person and a God-fearing man, and live a good life. That’s all that matters.”
Anderson mentions being a God-fearing man. As you can read in this article from whatchristianswanttoknow.com, his dad’s death had him leaning hard on his faith. He says “I recommitted my life to Christ. My grandmother left me a Bible which I read before each start different verses that help me understand how I am to live on a daily basis as a Christian. The Lord does not care about our works and our efforts to ‘earn’ our salvation. It is all about Him giving His Son, Jesus, to pay for all the sins we committed in the past, present, and in the future. It is all about Grace which is freely given.”
Here are my takeaways from Anderson’s story
1- The Role of a Dad – As I mentioned at the start, I like to look at what dad’s do when I teach a lesson on the opening lines of the Lord’s Prayer. A dad plays an important role in the growth and maturing of his children. Anderson was influenced enough that he wanted to honor the memory of his dad. I can’t imagine losing my father. But I do appreciate Anderson’s perspective. He says “I’d lost my earthly father and without him and his faith in me I wouldn’t be in the major leagues. But God is my true father and he’s with me every day.” The reality is that as a dad, I know that I will fail in many ways. But the one thing that I hope they will take from having me as a father is that they have a perfect heavenly father who loves them perfectly and has an amazing adventure in this life for each of them and a place in Paradise that awaits them. That is my most important role as a father – to point my children to their heavenly father.
2- Just like Dad – Chase Anderson wears the same outfit to the stadium for each home start. It is an outfit made up primarily of his dad’s clothes. He also etches his dad’s initials in the dirt before the game. Father’s often dream that their children will follow in their footsteps. And while I didn’t go into civil engineering like my dad, I did choose to make following God a priority. Anderson said that he wants to raise a God-fearing son. I want my kids to follow in my footsteps not by the job they choose to do, but the way they follow God. The only way to do this is to point them to Jesus as the example they should strive for. He talked during his time on earth very lovingly about God the Father and that love is available to all. I hope that my kids grow up to love God and follow Jesus’ example.