“Thank You Dad” by David Staton

Written by scoopsnews on June 14, 2017 – 4:54 am -

The Story behind “Thank You Dad”

By David Staton

I have been blessed through the years to write songs for just about every well-known southern gospel artist in our field.  Not long ago, I was being interviewed and the interviewer asked me if I had a favorite song that I had written.  I didn’t even hesitate when I told him which one was my favorite.  I told him that it was a song that most folks have never heard.  Since then, I have added it to my live concerts because the reaction is always the same.  I was so fortunate to be raised by Godly parents.  I am one of five kids and we have always been very close.  We grew up singing together and had parents that not only poured the word of God into us, but showed us through their lives how God loves us unconditionally.

In 2004, I received a phone call from my mom that stopped me in my tracks.  She told me that my dad had been showing signs of being confused and disoriented and they were going to the hospital to have a brain scan done.  Well, we all began to pray and a few hours later, my mom called again.  She told me that the scan had shown a tumor.  They said it was operable, but my dad was 71 years old and at his age, the chances of it being a late stage of cancer was likely.  They scheduled surgery for a few days later.  I remember telling Mike LeFevre and the guys that I needed some time off.  I went to Ohio for dad’s surgery.  The day before the surgery, my mom told all of us kids that dad wanted to write each of us a letter telling us how proud he was of us and how much he loved us.  I suggested that rather than dad writing a letter to all of us, that we should write a letter to him telling him how much we love him and how thankful we are that God placed us in his care and allowed us to be raised by such Godly parents.  My dad made it through the surgery and we were told that the tumor was stage four (the most advanced) and more than likely, another tumor would come back and be very aggressive.  I watched my dad who had always been so strong, become incredibly weak as he fought so hard to beat the odds.  My dad lived almost one year to the day of his surgery and passed away on September 10, 2005.  During that last year, I went to visit my mom and dad as much as I possibly could.  I remember sitting in the living room where us kids were raised, next to my dad’s hospital bed and talking to him and my mom.  I would ask questions that most kids never ask their parents.  How did you meet?  Who introduced you?  What did you like to do before five kids came into your life and messed everything up?  At night, I would write down everything I had learned about my parents and began working on this song.  I guess the reason this song is so special to me is because from an emotional stand point, it is the life story of my dad.  From a writer’s perspective, the song is both chronologically and structurally sound.  There is a story about each one of the lines in the song, so I’m going to share the lyric first and then, I will tell you a little bit about each line that made me include it and why it’s so special.  I’d like to wish every dad a Happy Father’s Day and I hope you enjoy the stories that inspired this song.  To hear the song, go to www.davidstaton.com

THANK YOU DAD

Verse 1:
He was born in 1932
Where the coal was black and the grass was blue
That Kentucky home’s still standing there today
The way they grew up was hard to believe
They were lucky to have shoes on their feet
The only thing they did harder than work was pray

Verse 2:
Then on a sunny day in fifty five
He met the lady that changed his life
They vowed to share a life and his last name
Not much hope for a family
The doctor said kids just couldn’t be
But I’m one of five that sure would like to say

Chorus:
Thank you dad
For giving us all more than we needed
For teaching us all to trust in Jesus
When others tried to make us fall, you taught us how to stand
Thank you dad
For bustin’ our butts when we were bad
For holding us close when we were sad
And when we got older for being the best friend that we’ve ever had
So for all the times we never told you when we had the chance
Thank you dad

Bridge:
Now when it comes to wisdom, no one has any more than you
I just hope my kids look at me the way I look at you

Thank you dad
For teaching us all how to live our lives
For showing us boys how to love our wives
There’s nothing we could say or do to ever pay you back
So for all the times we never told you when we had the chance
Thank you dad

Here is the breakdown and story behind the lyric:

THANK YOU DAD

Verse 1:
He was born in 1932
Where the coal was black and the grass was blue
That Kentucky home’s still standing there today
(My dad was born during the depression in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky.  The government declared that it was the poorest area of the country.  When we were young, my dad would tell us stories about how poor they were and things they had to do to live.  They were so extreme that we always thought he was exaggerating, but when we got older, he took us to the old house where he and 8 siblings were raised and we saw for ourselves just how poor they were.)
The way they grew up was hard to believe
They were lucky to have shoes on their feet
(This line is especially personal.  Each one of the kids got two pair of shoes a year.  One pair was to work in the fields and the other was to wear to school and church.  When my dad was very young, he had a younger brother named Tracy Wallace Staton.  While he was still an infant, he became very ill and died.  My dad had outgrown his shoes and they were too poor to buy him another pair, so he had to wear a pair of his sister’s shoes to the funeral.  My dad did not cry very often, but every time he ever shared that story with anyone, he would cry.)
The only thing they did harder than work was pray
(My dad’s parents were Christians and raised all of their kids in church, so prayer was not just a casual thing they did before a meal, it was a means of survival.  I saw how far they had to carry buckets of water from the stream to their house just to take a bath and how far they had to walk to school every day in the blazing heat or in snow.  It is hard to imagine how they ever survived.)

Verse 2:
Then on a sunny day in fifty five
He met the lady that changed his life
They vowed to share a life and his last name
(My dad and much of his family moved north to try to find work and escape their surroundings in order to eventually have a better life.  Shortly after moving to Hamilton, OH, one of my dad’s brothers and his wife introduced him to my mom.  After I finished the song, my mom said to me, “You know, it may have been 1956 when we met.”  I told her it was too late because 1955 was a rhyming line in the song and we had already recorded it.  They married in 1958.)
Not much hope for a family
The doctor said kids just couldn’t be
But I’m one of five that sure would like to say
(When my mom was a young girl, she had rheumatic fever, and the doctors told her that she would never be able to have kids.  Well God had other plans because they ended up having five kids.  I’m the middle child and I have two older brothers and a younger sister and brother.  My parents took us to gospel concerts and we grew up singing together.)

Chorus:
Thank you dad
For giving us all more than we needed
(My dad never made a lot of money.  He worked so hard and there was a period of time that he was unemployed.  I can remember him doing work and different jobs and I couldn’t believe how hard he would work. Looking back, I’m amazed at how God provided for us and exceeded our basic needs.)
For teaching us all to trust in Jesus
(Mom and dad raised us in church and we were all saved at a very young age.  My dad was a Sunday school teacher in our church and he would study the Bible every night before he went to bed.  My mom told us that when my dad was first saved, he got a bible and he and my mom would stay up reading and studying until they would fall asleep.  They pursued knowledge and wisdom through the scriptures and then they poured it into us kids.)
When others tried to make us fall, you taught us how to stand
(I could tell you countless stories of how mom and dad taught us to stand up for ourselves and for each other when we were kids.  If we didn’t defend ourselves and each other when we were in school, we would be in trouble when we got home.)
Thank you dad
For bustin’ our butts when we were bad
(This line is self-explanatory. We all knew that dad’s belt had another purpose than just holding his pants up.  We all still have signs of how those spankings affected us.  Respect for others, self-control, thankfulness, kindness and other crazy, unheard of things are still side effects from those spankings.)
For holding us close when we were sad
(Right alongside of the discipline was unconditional love.  When we were sad, hurting or discouraged, it was mom and dad who made us feel loved and who gave us the self-confidence to reach for our dreams.)
And when we got older for being the best friend that we’ve ever had
(I can’t tell you the times after we were grown that each one of us kids would call my dad for advice.  There isn’t a day goes by when we all wish we could pick up the phone or go see him.)
So for all the times we never told you when we had the chance
Thank you dad

Bridge:
Now when it comes to wisdom, no one has any more than you
I just hope my kids look at me the way I look at you
(With kids of my own, I can’t tell you how many times I stop and think about how my dad would have handled a certain situation.  I really try to follow his example of being a dad.  I sure hope my kids look back and think of me like I think of my dad.)

Thank you dad
For teaching us all how to live our lives
For showing us boys how to love our wives
(I’ve heard it said that the best thing a dad can do for their kids is to love their mom.  My dad really loved my mom and it showed in what he did for her and how he treated her.  That’s one of those behaviors that you don’t realize who is teaching you or how they’re teaching you until much later in life.)
There’s nothing we could say or do to ever pay you back
So for all the times we never told you when we had the chance
Thank you dad
(We always knew that mom and dad loved us.  They told us and more importantly, they showed us.  We told our mom and dad that we loved them over and over again, but after my dad went to be with the Lord, I thought of so many times I should have told him when I didn’t.  If you have a mom and dad that are still with you, go hug them and thank them for loving you.)

This was the last song we played at my dad’s funeral.  After moving to Hamilton, OH, my dad worked for one company and retired after 35 years.  At my dad’s visitation, over 1500 people filed through the funeral home to pay their last respects.  I heard a great preacher say once that you will know the people who you have really made a mark on because they will cry at your funeral.  Well that day, there were a lot of tears shed because so many would miss my dad.   But through the tears, there was also celebrating because we know where my dad is today!
 

Listen below to “Thank You Dad”


Tags:
Posted in announcements | Comments Off on “Thank You Dad” by David Staton

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.