Dad’s Hammer by Carolyn Tucker

Keys to the Kingdom By Carolyn Tucker



When I moved out of the house, right before I turned 19, Dad gave me a hammer. This was not just any ordinary hammer; it was one of his that had broken off five inches below the eye. Rather than discard it, he had kept it around. Forty-seven years later, I still have and use this hammer every time I hang a piece of décor. I love this special tool because it perfectly fits in my hand and doesn’t weigh as much as a normal one, enabling me to use it easier. I like to share the story of the weird short hammer to those who see me use it.


Dad believed in me and I, in turn, believed in him. The Saturday in 1967, when my folks took me to Springfield to shop music stores, changed my life forever. I’d been begging for a piano but I couldn’t play a lick. Dad bought a new piano for me and I was the happiest girl in the whole USA! In talking about the purchase of my piano, in his later years, Dad told me, “That was the best investment I ever made.”


Dad loved me, taught me life lessons, and instilled a love for God in my heart. He taught me how to fill the washer fluid, check the oil, and radiator level. He told me to drive with the traffic. If the temp light came on, pull over and stop. If the engine light came on, I should be able to get to a short destination. He taught me how to ride a horse, carry plenty of cash, be on time, and shine my shoes. By spending time with him, I knew him like the back of my hand.


Was he a perfect man? No. Was he the perfect dad? Maybe not — but he was perfect to me. Because of his devotion to God and faithfulness to my brother and I, he nailed the definition of a great father. “The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them” (Proverbs 20:7 NLT).


It’s no surprise that fathers have a profound influence on their children. In the Old Testament, we see that some sons walked in their father’s footsteps. “Uzziah…began to rule over Judah. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah had done” (2 Kings 15:1,3 NLT). “Jotham son of Uzziah began to rule over Judah…. Jotham did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. He did everything his father, Uzziah, had done” (2 Kings 15:32,34 NLT).


To all the great and godly fathers with wayward children, don’t despair. As long as there’s breath, there’s prayer and hope for change. And please don’t take unwarranted blame — God gave humans a free will on purpose. Remember Adam (the first father)? In the beginning he had two sons, Cain and Able. One chose poorly and one chose righteously and both had the same father.


On April 11, 2012, I was preparing to leave, so I kissed Dad on the cheek. He immediately pulled out his billfold and handed me a ten-dollar bill and said, “Here, take this. I might need you to get me something.“ He died two days later and I still have that $10 in my billfold. The last thing he did was give.


Happy Father’s Day to all the hero dads who provide the wind beneath your children’s wings. You are essential, valued, honored, and loved as a very special blessing.


The Key: I don‘t have Dad, but I have his hammer. And that will do for now.

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