How My Father Taught Me to Be a Better Man (by for KING & COUNTRY)
for KING & COUNTRY has referenced their father as one of the most pivotal forces behind the band. In honor of Father’s Day, we asked them to write a tribute to their dad, David Smallbone, and highlight how he has taught them to be better men. Here’s what Joel had to say.
The Way He Loves
One of our Dad’s greatest attributes as a father has been how he has loved our mom, and this year they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Growing up we always knew that Dad loved and respected Mom, and if you ever crossed Mom in the wrong way then you would have the wrath of Dad to deal with. I think both Luke and I always admired him, even as young kids when we didn’t know what the dynamics of other marriages looked like, we just had an admiration and a respect for how he loved Mom.
No Fear of Hard Conversations
Growing up Dad always made a real intentional effort to talk about the hard things, and growing up there are some subjects you don’t want to talk about. Things like pornography or masturbation, you name it, and we went there. He would bring up all the hard issues. As a young man that was something very helpful too because I wasn’t left second guessing or wondering or feeling like I couldn’t talk about these things with him. Dad has always been a very consistent spiritual man and has really endeavored to be an honest and fair, above reproach, person in both how he conducts himself as a father, a husband, and also as a business-man.
(Photo credit: Larry McCormack)
Some of you might know this, Dad manages Rebecca St. James, our older sister, and he also manages Luke and me. He’s really the ghost member of for KING & COUNTRY. His leadership, partnership, and relationship through it has really grown our father & son relationship ten-fold. It’s really made me realize that often times in modern culture there’s a tendency to look at your parents’ work and sort of shun it like “I don’t want to be involved. That’s their thing, I want my own thing.” However, we’ve found that having a Dad who’s been involved in the music industry for over 40 years that his leadership has really given us an understanding and an insight into the music world that we could have never dreamed of having and that no college education could really offer.
Good, Simple Memories
Some of my very first memories, all the way back to Sydney Australia, were of Dad getting on the tractor and mowing the lawn on our 5-acre property. It was like his therapy, his way of getting away from everything. Luke and I are just 2 of 5 boys in our family, and we would always fight over who would be the lucky one that got to sit on the tractor with Dad. I remember as clear as day those moments where I was the one. It was literally the simplest thing. We would just sit on the tractor with Dad and pretend to drive, and really, it wasn’t about the tractor or the lines in the grass we were making. It was about the fact we were with Dad. That it was just him and us, and we got to have that time together.
Another memory for you: Dad was a concert promoter in Australia, so he would bring over all these artists and I remember vividly as a 4 or 5 year old sitting on Dad’s shoulders at a rock concert with the palms of my hands plugging my ears just enamored by watching these bands perform. I think in some ways you could argue that was where I discovered the love and connection with music, in those early moments with Dad.
So all that said, on this Father’s Day, from both Luke and I, we have the utmost respect and honor for our Dad and love him dearly. We are the men that we are as a band, as husbands, as friends, and as children of God, because of his leadership as a father.
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