Serving Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton and surrounding areas

What fathers know

by Phil Callaway


My wife grew up surrounded by sisters. When she gave birth to our boys, she was largely unprepared. These little orangutans ran about the house, sliming door handles and wearing little more than smiles. They stuffed Jello in the toaster and mud in their diapers. I wasn’t surprised. I had been a boy. In time, she learned seven lessons from her sons:


  1. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42-pound boy wearing ski goggles and a superman cape.
  2. It will, however, rotate a birthday cake fast enough to leave icing on all four walls.
  3. Garbage bags are very useful, but not as parachutes.
  4. Peas are easily removed from a three-year-old’s nose; crab apples require more work.
  5. When you hear a flushing sound following by the words, “Uh-oh,” it’s rarely a good sign.
  6. Kids should never throw baseballs upward when the ceiling fan is on.
  7. A single-pane window will not stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.


My father was one of the wisest men I ever met. From raising five little hooligans, he knew that ceramic ducks hanging from the living-room wall will not survive more than two games of indoor football played by four energetic boys.

He knew that a glass of milk spilt on the back floor of the car without being reported can stink up an entire vehicle for two summers.

He knew to check inside the oven before turning it on.

He knew that the fire department in our town has a nine-minute response time.

Dad knew more important things too. He knew that kids spell love t-i-m-e. That in time, they won’t remember how much money you earned, but they’ll recall that time you played a prank, that time you told them Bible stories at bedtime.

We had no TV, so Dad didn’t sit much in the Lazyboy. But he knelt often and prayed for me. He didn’t spend much time on Facebook; he put his face in his Bible each day and, more often that not, obeyed what it said. As time went on, Dad took an interest in my music—tunes that would have curled the hair on most of his friends.

Dad loved my mom. I never doubted it. He practiced what he preached. He took God seriously. Himself? Not so much. I suppose that’s why I’ve forgiven him for teaching my children about ceiling fans.


Lee Strobel calls Phil’s new book, Laugh Like A Kid Again, “a masterpiece of joy.” For a copy, visit



Sign up to receive bi-monthly story updates at – put City Light News updates in the Subject line