I want to honor my parents Phillip (Bud) and Sherry Dickinson. Their two sons (Michael and I) dearly love and honor them today. Important traits have marked my parents' character for as long as I can remember, and I know that without these traits, I would not be the man I am today:
1.) They taught us to work hard and to be happy to do the dirty jobs that no one would want to do. (e.g. Mom, taught us young, along with many other things, to scrub floors with a rag on our hands and knees, and to clean toilets thoroughly whether our toilets or those in the church bathrooms. Dad often had us hoeing the garden, splitting wood, helping him get greasy while fixing cars or making other repairs, pushing a lawn mower, or watching him get dirty unplugging the sewer.) They enjoyed working hard and made work fun.
2.) They faithfully and happily took us to all of our local church's work days, revival meetings, camp meetings, missionary services along with giving happily of tithes and offerings. They were loyal and giving.
3.) God and His glory were their passion, for they often talked of God, the glory days that they had seen, and about paying the price in order to have God's glory. They prayed for and desired revival.
4.) I knew that they had the ear of God, for I have seen God work miracles in answer to their prayers. They prayed fervently and often loudly.
5.) My mother for years has been a shouter. (often where it was not popular nor welcome to shout God's praises) But I remember at the age of 17 being overwhelmed with an inexplicable burden that God gave me for His presence in my life, by listening to her shout around the camp meeting we were attending in Michigan. Praising and pleasing God were more important than people's approval or even than the neighbors' approval for she shouted praises out the open window of our house when she felt necessary and even when she was sick and in pain.
6.) My mother is a praying woman; I will never forget the times as a boy of walking in on her and seeing her kneeling at her bed with her eyes red with crying. Prayer was a part of our life.
7.) Mother was an avid reader of good holiness classics and had many of them in the house for us to find and read. (Just one example will I note. I well remember first finding the book Power through Prayer by E.M. Bounds around the age of 16 and I was so enthralled that I stayed up late into the night reading and praying.) My Dad thoroughly enjoyed listening to good holiness preaching, and he had quite a collection of preaching tapes. Their love for pure holy living instilled in me a love for the same.
8.) My parents both believed that their children were born with a sinful nature. And did several things to help us with such. They both knew how to use the rod well (usually the belt was handier for my Dad) and used it as often as we needed it and applied it until our attitude changed and we were truly repentant. They believed our teachers when they were told that we were bad at school and they again applied the rod. They kept us under fiery holiness preaching and stayed around to pray for us when we went to the altar. They helped us see our need.
9.) My father is a hard worker with a servant's heart and is a faithful man (a rare jewel today) to his wife, family, truth, local church, and to his responsibilities. How often I remember him working for free at our local church, or on the car of some preacher or missionary. We his sons want to be like our daddy, our hero. (He still does the work of two or three good men. And I'm not just a little boy blindly bragging.)
10.) Though we moved several times, having the family in a good holiness church trumped having a good job; at least one very lucrative job offer was declined by my father (when he was needing a job) due to a lack of a holiness church in the area. They wouldn't sell out their priorities, not for any price.
11.) My Father and Mother both greatly feared God and had an awe and a reverence for Him. For example, I remember my father asking me not to sing Christian music in a flippant way (for God's name and holy themes were being treated lightly by such). And at key times they would soberly remind us of those in the Bible who were struck dead due to sin. To this day I have a deep love for and healthy fear of God and I take great care that I might not grieve God by speaking lightly of any sacred subject. To them, holy and reverend is His name.
12.) My parents held in very high esteem those who preach the Gospel and tried not to speak of their faults nor even of their sins. Years later we their children, now adults, learned that they had known that a few of them were hypocrites all along. Yet never did they ever talk of their sins to us children out of respect for authority and out of wisdom. For because we children were ignorant, I look back and see how God used some hypocrites to bless and help our lives in many ways. A "speak evil of no man" policy blessed their children.
13.) My parents purposed to keep the lines open between their children and themselves. They built a strong relationship with time spent being with and in listening to, and in communication and friendship with we their children. They made sure that we were a close family. But not just with their children, between themselves they showed affection and love and proved their commitment to one another. We learned from their word and example that God HATES divorce. Today our family is closer than ever (and much larger due to marriage and having children) and still the best of affectionate friends.
14.) Following the Bible was paramount. If they felt the Bible taught something we followed that even if it meant sadly loosing friends. If it didn't teach something they didn't worry about it even if it meant not being able to be a part of the "club" in the church leadership.
15.) Of course like all of us, my parents have made mistakes. But they have been humble, willing to ask forgiveness, willing to forgive, and refusing to get discouraged enough to quit or to cast aside their faith. In the end faith is what matters. They are living to someday hear those most blessed words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things...enter into the joy of thy Lord."