Updated: Jul 12, 2021
Dr. Ashley Miller Anderson
As the first Father’s Day after the passing of my father approaches, I’ve reflected on the things he taught me and the lessons that have truly changed my life. I’ve learned, now that I’m also a parent, not only is parenting difficult, but it’s a tremendous moral responsibility. Beyond the basics of making sure your children are fed, clothed, and housed, one of the things parents forget — until it’s too late — are the things we say and do to shape our children and the adults they become.
My father had many sayings, but the one that stood out to me the most and the one I shared during his funeral was, “Do the next right thing.” Daddy believed the only thing in life you can control is yourself and even when life seems to be crumbling all around you, your responsibility is to do the next right thing. You are not responsible for the actions of others. Sometimes, you can’t control how their actions impact your life. You can control your response and actions in doing what is right.
Growing up, I hadn’t connected how Biblical this saying was. I’m not even sure daddy meant it to be a lesson from the Lord but time after time in the Bible, God reminds us to do the next right thing.
“Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.” Psalms 106:3 NIV
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.”
Romans 12:17 NIV
“Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.”1 John 3:7 NIV
As Christians, we are held to a different standard and we’re called to do right always. This is a significant lesson I’m thankful daddy instilled in me over the years. In fact, it was a significant part of his legacy.
Fathers, I implore you to consider the lessons your actions and words are teaching your children. Are they of God? Are they instilling Biblical lessons that will lead them in the right direction well after you’re gone? Do the next right thing...it truly does matter.