There are some things kids will always remember about their dads. As parents, as fathers, we're never too sure just what our kids will remember. And it's not as if you can spoon-feed memories to kids. Each child, each experience is unique. As we've been learning a bit about the fathers within our church family, we've been interested to hear the responses of the kids as they talk of things they know and remember about their dads, and the fun things they do. The following interview is especially interesting as we look at three generations of the Gallez family.
Hinterland Baptist Church is focusing on some of the fathers in our church family. We know there are countless days throughout the year when their influence and love make a difference- so many times when, in word or action, they point us to our ultimate Father. So we thought it might interest you to learn a bit more about some of these special fathers.
Introducing a special Father's Day feature- an interview with 3 generations of the Gallez family:
John and David Gallez with Rachael, Jacob and Caleb
Rachael (18), Jacob (16) and Caleb (14)
What’s your favourite memory of your dad?
Caleb: When we went down to Newcastle for a couple of days. It was for my 13th birthday. It was good. I got to spend time with him. It was just me and him.
Rachael: Obviously there are too many memories. When Dad read the Read Aloud Bible Stories to us at night time and he always read it in the same way and the same tone.
Jacob: I remember that. I was convinced that was Mum. Me? Just learning to drive a manual with him. Just me getting so overexcited because he didn’t notice I’d gone into fourth gear and I was really happy about it.
What’s the most embarrassing thing about your dad?
Caleb: There’s a lot, haha. I guess how loud he is. It’s like he’s always trying to talk to a deaf person.
Rachael: I wouldn’t say embarrassing, just a bit weird that he’d shout across the shopping centre when you’re in one aisle and he’s down four or five other aisles and calls out your name.
Jacob: Just the amount he’ll talk. If I have a friend come over, it’s an hour he’ll spend with them just lecturing them. He just talks to everyone.
If you had one quality of your father’s what would it be?
Caleb: Well, I mean, I have several qualities of my father’s. I wish I had his intelligence.
Rachael: He always makes people happy. He smiles, he’s very generous, he always manages to put a smile on someone’s face.
Jacob: I think just being able to care about someone regardless of who they are, their situation or what they’ve said. Because if someone just says something to me, it’s very easy to just not care and think “Yeah, whatever - you do you”, but Dad tends to always be able to worry and care about someone which I can’t do at all.
How do you know your dad loves you?
Caleb: He allows me to to do a lot of things that I don’t think most dads would generally allow their kids to do. He drives me places, shows up to events that I have going on, asks about what’s going on in my life.
Rachael: He tells me and shows me every day….without fail! He tells me, “I love you.” (To Caleb) Doesn’t he kiss your forehead?
Jacob: He slaps the back of my head and smiles and goes and sits there and crosses his arms like yeah. He loves it. I do the same thing! I walk past someone and be like boom. It’s the funniest thing. That’s the way he does it for me. He knows I just don’t like being touched so he’ll like poke me and then he like smiles about it and I’ll be like, “Don’t do that.”
Caleb: That’s generally not a sign of love.
Jacob: Oh, mate.
How many pairs of New Balance or Skechers do you own?
I own one pair of New Balance and two pairs of Skechers. Two pairs of Adidas, two pairs of Nike, four pairs of Florsheim, one pair of Windsor Smith.
What’s the best pattern to mow your lawn in?
It depends on the time of year, but usually, well actually, we don’t really have grass now so it doesn’t matter but when we had grass I use to do a long and short in strips. Do a long cut and then a short cut and then a long cut and then a short cut and then a long cut and then you do a cross pattern.
What’s your favourite memory of your dad?
It’s pretty much impossible to hear anyone shouting or saying anything when you’re doing butterfly. My biggest memory is dad at a state carnival yelling “Go!”, and I could hear him and I knew it was him while I was doing butterfly. I knew it was him and it wasn’t often that he was able to go to the carnivals but that was one of the times.
What has being a father taught you?
What has being a father taught me? That my life is not my own and that what I have is temporary. And that the souls that have been entrusted to me… I’m just a steward.
What would you like your kids to remember most about you?
That I was there for them when they needed me. That I was there to help them when I could and that I could laugh with them.
What’s your biggest challenge as a parent at this stage and how can we pray for you?
Letting go. I recall when Rachael got her license. I knew she was a good driver but when she went out for the first time in her own car with none of us there it was like, “Lord, please bring her home safely.” And every time she goes to work it’s the same thing. I know Mum and Dad were the same for me so I’m not on my own here and I fear more with Jacob that it’s going to be the same thing. Not that that’s a bad thing, he’s a good driver. Just that letting go but then eventually it will be letting them go.
What was your father like? Do you have a favourite memory?
Everything was good. It depends on how you look. He did everything. I’ve got nothing bad to say. I think I pushed him when I was young. I was the baby of the family. He knew I didn’t want to go to church but he would say, “Do not forget anything”. Which means don’t forget to pray. That was the message. Dad was strict…well when you’re young you think so but I was obedient. I understand him far better now because he didn’t have the opportunity.
His father put him to work at seven in the coal mine (where I come from in Belgium it’s all coal mines) and if he didn’t come back with a bucket of coal before breakfast there would be no breakfast for him - nothing. He was very generous. My father was converted at 37. He was Catholic. If there was a mass we had to go to the church. There was one at 10 o’clock, there was one in the afternoon…there was about four masses during the Sunday and we had to go. Snow or what, you would go and that was my father. And next door there was a lady and now and then she would come with a Bible and she would say, “Abel, can I read?”
“Yeah, I’m Catholic”.
But Mum never said nothing but Mum was converted before my father and my father couldn’t read at all because his father put him to work at seven.
But it was love. When I look back I’m a lot like my father.
What was David like as a kid?
I can’t complain and maybe because we had only one, we were busy in a way. David would come and sit next to us in church, and we would have no problem that way. He would talk to anyone. He would scare us! I’ll never forget the first time we went back overseas, and we were at the airport and he was only three years old and he would talk to anyone. All of a sudden, “Where is David”? He’d disappeared. He was in front of us and he had gone and talked to a lady from Africa and he came back with some coins.
We let the world slowly creep and creep and creep into the Christian life and we accept it and we tolerate it. So with David, I never tried to push him to go to church like my father did to me. I drifted from the church because of my father. With my son, I said, “No, I don’t want to go that way. It’s up to him.” When he was little, we took him to Sunday School but when he became a teenager, I didn’t want to push because to me I didn’t want to see him go the same way. I’m not an educated person. I’m not an intelligent person whatsoever, but from his example, I didn’t want to make the same mistake.
What has being a father and grandfather taught you?
The grandchildren are not the same as when they were little. I can’t have my granddaughter on my knee. The communication is different now. Wherever you go now people are on screens and if I want to talk I hate to talk on the phone. If I’m talking to you in person I can see you. David and Amy used to have a bible study at their place and there were no screens. People would bring their bibles and there was more sharing that way. We miss all that when we say we don’t have time and I say that for myself too. I don’t try to judge people that way, but that’s the world we live in. I don’t want to live in the past but with my grandchildren; they used to visit, and it was a pleasure to see them jump on the rocks and I don’t have that pleasure any more when they come here.
What’s your biggest challenge as a parent and grandfather?
It’s not a challenge to me. You have your responsibility, but it’s not a challenge.