No man has influenced my life more than my Dad.
My Dad’s name is Blake. My Mum’s name is Elaine. And yes… merge those names together and you get Blaine.
My Dad is the hardest working son of a gun I know. He loves to get his hands dirty. Build stuff. There’s never been a challenge he wasn’t up to. And impossible is not even in his vocabulary.
This is Dad and I building my office desk and shelving.
Landscaping our yard.
Trust me, when we work, it’s all I can do to keep up with him and he’s 83 years old. He has the plan, the knowledge and the tools… and I just count myself lucky to be his partner in new creation.
Dad has a 9th grade education. Just quit school and went to work. Growing up in a farming community in Saskatchewan, Canada — education wasn’t near as important as rising early and getting a job done.
Despite his shortened school experience, he was resolute about being a good husband to my Mum and a faithful provider for our family. He learned how to manage a small hardware store in Regina. (yes, that’s a city in Canada) And then on to managing multiple A&W restaurants in Nova Scotia. Within a decade or so, he owned multiple businesses including some Dairy Queens, Pizza shops and one of the highest producing commercial glass shops in Calgary.
I never lacked for anything growing up. But “Pops” never allowed money to get the best of him. He walked humbly, drove modest cars and our homes were charming, but never ostentatious.
Dad made us work for our money. I was washing dishes in one of his restaurant kitchens every weekend by the time I was 12. I was the first guy in my grade to buy a car (70 Duster!) — because Dad taught me how to work and make a dollar.
And while I’m grateful for the work ethic he instilled in me, there is something even greater he has modeled both to me and all that have had the privilege of knowing Blake Bartel.
He is the kindest man I know.
He always has a good word about others. Loves my Mum deeply. (over 60 years of marriage) An honest and considerate business partner. His grandkids adore him. He goes out of his way to sacrifice for both family and friends. And never for praise or approval.
Somehow, kindness has become a lost virtue in our culture.We are busy getting even, protecting interests, balancing scales and standing up for our rights.
When I read about the nine marks of of spiritual maturity in Galatians - “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, gentleness and self-control,” - kindness is the one fruit that builds bridges with both allies and enemies.
In my opinion, kindness is the very essence of the gospel witness.
I’m reminded of the words of Mahatma Gandhi while speaking his Christian friend — “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
The kindness of Christ has kept me running back to Him. It draws me closer. Makes me stronger. And reminds my I am His son.
As Paul announced, it is prompts each fresh surrender… every new repentance.
“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”
Romans 2:4 NIV
As a father of three beautiful sons and one amazing daughter, my deepest desire and prayer, is to be like my father.
If you are a Dad, I pray the same for you.
Happy Father’s day to all my brothers out there.