I love any opportunity to talk about my Dad, and today is the day. Jimmy Thompson, as he’s known to many, is nothing short of an incredible guy. Yes, he’s successful, smart, driven, talented, handsome – but here’s the catch – he’s also super loving, sweet, supportive, loyal and a spiritual rock. He’s a modest guy though, and wouldn’t like me bragging… As a matter of fact, I hope he’s reading this and blushing a little bit. Dad, let me gush on you the way you deserve! He’ll swing a golf club, cast a line, be chairman of the board, read to his grand babies, shoot his gun, enjoy a glass of wine, puff his cigar, and sing a tenor solo in the choir. I look at him as a living depiction of a true Southern Gentleman. Usually looking dapper in a bow tie, and seersucker suit at a summer wedding. YET – most importantly – he’s ALWAYS THERE WHEN WE NEED HIM. If he doesn’t answer your call right away, you’ll get a text within minutes saying why. As a child, teen and adult, calling his office was never an interruption to even the most important meeting. His assistant was told to ALWAYS give him the phone.
I say that because he encompasses all of these amazing qualities, but for a man of his age, has also faced real hardships and suffering in his life. I KNOW without a doubt that I’m incredibly blessed to still have him in my life, because by the time he was my age, he had lost both of his parents to a very tragic illness. He’s also faced other challenges as a father that have never changed his love and support for his family. He’s REALLY always there for us, even when he shouldn’t be at times. He’s a living example of faith, hope and love. Yep, you guessed it, his greatest example is LOVE. I was able to ask Dad a few questions about being a Dad, and will share them along with his answers below.
How did you balance being a working father and parenthood? Would you have done anything differently? The Most important thing I did was Marry well. My wife was the key and we had a clear understanding of how parenting duties and responsibilities would occur. She is much smarter than me, so I felt like I was a decision maker, but seriously Melissa was the key to every decision we made. I worked hard, as did she, but my work quite often took me out of town. Bottom line is that if the balance we out of whack, we communicated clearly to get back on the right track. What would I do differently? That’s a tough question. Maybe work to take a little pressure off our routine. The pressure to succeed in all facets of life were definitely there and I would encourage the young fathers out there to reflect on their priorities. Spiritual first, family second and vocation third.
Watching your children grown into the adults they are, what has made you the proudest? My children love each other, support each other through thick and thin and respect those around them. I am also proud that they love and care for their mother and father. At the end of the day, this is what life is all about and I believe my children are successful in that.
What were the most important values you tried to instill in your children? I feel VERY strongly that spiritual values are the most important. Melissa and I spent a lot of time at our church and in our home trying instill those values in our children.
What would your advice be for young and soon-to-be fathers? Develop a mission statement. Share it with your wife. Pull it out once a year and modify it if needed. For many years, mine needed no modification. As my children have grown into adults, Melissa and I are beginning to see changes in our own mission goals. Most importantly, I believe the father should be the spiritual leader of the home.
How do you feel becoming a father changed you from the “Jim” you were before? Like walking through the door of one room into another. Before our children were born, Melissa and I lived a wonderful life together and were defined by that relationship. After children, life begins to be defined by a larger family unit. As a father, that brings more responsibility to your life but it is responsibility that I have cherished every day.
Dad, I love you more than you’ll ever know. Your wisdom, dedication to everything you do, your love for God and your family (and more) is something RARE. Because of that, I know just how lucky I am to have you.
XOXOXOXO – Mary
Such a special tribute to your dad, Mary. Your parents are special people as is your family as a whole. Love you all.
Beautifully written truth! Your parents are great examples of loving parents and grandparents. I know they are as thankful for their family as you all are for them.
I enjoyed your article and truly miss seeing each of you!