We respect your privacy.

A Father’s Day Story for the Ages


Chuck Swindoll ministers to each of us with his writings in Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, published by Multnomah Press. The following story is taken in its entirety from that volume.

Building Memories

“You guys go on without me. You’ll have a great time—I’m sure of that. Sorry, family, but I have to work.”

The place? Montgomery, Alabama.

The time? Several years ago.

The situation? A dad, who really loved his family and wanted them to enjoy a summer vacation, had to work. The press of business kept him tied to the office. But being committed to their happiness, he assured them of his desire that they take the trip and enjoy the fleeting summer days.

He helped them plan every day of the camping trip. They would load up the family station wagon, drive to California, camp up and down the coast, then travel back home together. Each day was carefully arranged—even the highways they would travel and the places they would stop. Dad knew their whole route, the time they would reach each state—planned almost to the hour—even when they would cross the Great Divide.

It’s what he didn’t tell them that made the difference.

The father took off work (he’d planned it all along) and arranged to have himself flown to an airport near where his family would be on that particular day of the trip. He had also arranged to have someone pick him up and drive him to a place where every car on that route had to pass. With a wide grin, he sat on his sleeping bag and waited for the arrival of that familiar station wagon packed full of kids and camping gear. When he spotted the station wagon, he stood up, stepped out onto the shoulder of the road, and stuck out his thumb.

Can you visualize it?

Look! That guy looks just like … DAD!

The family assumed he was a thousand miles away, sweating over a stack of papers It’s amazing they didn’t drive off into a ditch or collapse from heat failure. Can you imaging the fun they had the rest of the way? And the memories they stored away in the mental scrapbook—could they ever be forgotten?

When later asked why he would go to all that trouble the creative father replied, “Well … someday I’m going to be dead. When that happens, I want my kids and wife to say, ‘You know, Dad was a lot of fun.’”

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

“May the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful” (Psalm 68:3).

Why is that such a story finds it way into our hearts and releases a surge of endorphins in our brain?

What can you do this summer to add an element of creative surprise to your family’s collection of memories?