My dad had a huge influence on me, largely in part because of the type of man he is. He is a strong leader, one who has always been very committed to his convictions. He was a really good dad to me and my older brother, always showing us unconditional love, playing with us, investing in us, and demonstrating to us that he is our biggest fan.
Watching my dad work in real estate, it was from him that I learned the importance of hard work. He was the guy who was always willing to go the extra mile. He never settled for being average at anything he did. Observing this, the same instincts and passion rubbed off on us boys. Our dad turned over every stone in order to be the greatest man he could be. He was never content with where he was at the moment, but always wanted to be improving, growing and impacting others.
One of my favorite memories of my dad took place when I was in school. I remember being summoned to the school office where I was sure I was going to be in trouble for something — I was always up to no good — only to find out my dad was checking me out of school for the day. It was opening day for the Milwaukee Brewers and we weren’t going to miss it. Having my dad get me out of school and bring me to a baseball game was the coolest thing ever! Outside of that I love reminiscing about the times once or twice a year when my dad would let me choose any one thing I wanted to do and we, just the two of us, would go and do it. Little things like these showed me that my dad really loved me and he loved to be with me.
It was a major blessing to have such an amazing template of how to love others and be committed to them. The ways my dad talked with me and acted toward me, the way he encouraged me, coached me, and was present in my life, was a really big deal. These are things you can’t trade. Becoming a father to my own children, I’ve realized I didn’t really have to learn these aspects of fatherhood because I experienced it firsthand. His leadership and love comes naturally to me because it’s what I know. Now as I raise my boys and daughter, I see my dad’s ways of parenting come naturally to me. Because of his example, it was easy for me to transition into fatherhood.
One of the greatest gifts my dad gave to me was all the different facets of Christ I saw in his life. I knew a father who loved me and sacrificed for me time and time again. I knew a dad who punished me justly when I needed it. I recognize the fatherly love of our God by knowing the authentic love of my earthly dad. A real father points you to your Heavenly One.
A lot of people don’t have an earthly father or have a bad relationship with him. As hard as that may be, this dynamic can allow us to lean into the love of our Heavenly Father that much more. When we recognize that we haven’t fully experienced true fatherly love here on earth, we can then open up to fully experience the goodness of who God is. We can know the reckless and endless love of a Father who sent His Son to die for us, to save us, and to show us how to live and love like Him.
— Chris Maragos, Philadelphia Eagles safety
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.