Wisdom, integrity, humorous. These are the three words that first come to mind when I think of Steve Lentz-a father of six, husband for 25+ years. I was blessed to be placed in a family that is tied to a reputation for being world-changers. Consistent with discipline, character building and quirks, my dad is the best man who could have raised me. Wise, funny, my “main man.” After breakfast one Saturday when I was around the age of ten he explained to me how he is my main man. How until the day I get married he is the man that plays the role of my protector, the one who I get wisdom from, the one who I look to when I’m in trouble and the one who will comfort me. That has stuck with me and here are just a few examples of how he has held true to be those things.
At the time Dad was in New York City on a business trip. During the winter my Sophomore year of HS I was driving home from babysitting around midnight. On my way home I passed my High School where a school dance was just ending. As I was turning left I made a tight turn due to snow covering the bank and unbeknownst to me a cop car was pulling up at another stop sign. I wasn’t smart and made eye contact- which triggered him into pulling me over 50 yards from our back driveway and resulted the officer into giving the “drinking test,” taking my license away and handing me a ticket titled, “improper lane usage.” To this day I don’t know what I did wrong. I hate feeling like I disobeyed and because I didn’t know what I did wrong I started to shake, and cry. Mostly because it was scary and very confusing. As I entered the house I went crying to Patrick who quickly realized he couldn’t handle a distraught sister and asked me to wake up mom. I hate waking mom up; she works so hard during the day and needs her sleep. But this was a good excuse for an emotional 17 year old. She was patient as always, prayed for me as I had uncontrollable tears that sounded like I was chocking and told me to cry myself to sleep. Before I went to bed she said “I know dad would love to be here to hold you Mary.” When dad heard about that night and returned from New York he didn’t understand why I got a ticket and (without telling me) went to the station to hear the event on tape (apparently every time a police officer pulls someone over the entire conversation is recorded). He approached me as I was surfing the internet and told me about his trip to the station. He never heard the officer explain what I did wrong and encouraged me to challenge the ticket in court.
Two months later he came to court with me for support and was wonderful. The whole situation ended with not paying a court fee because, according to the judge, the officer and I were both “in the wrong.” I had to attend an 8 hour driving class and pay the actual ticket cost, but without my dad protecting me and taking the initiative to go to the station and come to court with me, I think my bank account would have dropped more and I never would have had that “growing” experience.
Big one. Steve Lentz is known among many for his wisdom and honesty. I went through a lying phase for a few years in late elementary school and one night after being caught cheating on a test (I was caught by writing “answers may vary” for an English answer from the answer key) he and mom sat me down for what is known as the longest nights of my child hood. Fidgeting with a red crayon on the couch I was preparing to be yelled out and given a list of punishments. Instead of being yelled at and hearing consequences such as “no sleep over’s for a month” or “two hours of extra reading on the weekend” he patiently tried to dissect the reasons for my pattern on lying. Challenging and concerned questions were raised and the deeper reasons for my lying were surfaced: fear of not doing well in school, not knowing the effects of lying or the trust lost in the process, etc. He was disappointed and there were punishments, but his apprehension for my lying was trumped by his unconditional love and patience. It’s hard to describe and I don’t remember the whole discussion vividly, but I do know the effect that night had and it has permanently made a mark on me. I learned being honest and being known as an honest person is one of the most treasured qualities one can hold.
When he answers someones question he will always explain himself very well, without any fluff. He’s matter of fact and straight to the core. I can ramble on forever, say “I dunno” during my explanation and when I end with “so what do you think?” Dad’s answer is insightful, in-depth and has a fresh perspective. My favorite memories are sitting in the same room with him, asking him a random questions. This could be questions like “who do you think will get married first in our family?” all the way to “should I take this career path or this one?”
Nothing can take the place of a father’s hug or words of comfort. I wasn’t deprived of this growing up, but I did choose not to take advantage of it. Up until my late high school years I kept many things to myself and didn’t go to dad if I was upset over something. Once I left for Kansas my eyes were opened to what I didn’t take advantage of all those years. In Kansas if I had a bad day, was hurt or sad I was rarely around people to comfort me let alone even genuinely care about my day. Especially in the beginning when I was starting out fresh. Even if I was offered a hug from a co-worker or friend, nothing filled the comfort I receive from my dad. Aside from a hug, his words of comfort are great. This year a classmate I wasn’t that close with (in fact he annoyed me at first) was in a bad car wreck and in a coma. This was the third guy I’ve sat next to in class that have passed away or gotten into bad accidents during the duration of the course. Even though I wasn’t personally close with him my Dad knows my over-the-top compassionate tendencies and knew I would be affected. He reached out when he heard and it meant so much.
The level of how much he believes in me is higher than any level given to a Call of Duty or World of Warcraft game.
He wrote me a letter before moving out of the house at 18 saying it was going to be one of the saddest days of his life. This may sound conceited, but I believed him (which made it that much harder to leave the house). This is because he is someone who I truly know adores the living everything out of me. Things that are questionable as annoying, he loves. He loves it when I just ramble and make up weird ways to talk about things. He smiles when I’m stressing out saying “OK PEOPLE….let’s get SERIOUS” he bursts out laughing. He expresses enjoyment out of my competitive spirit. On a heavier note though he comments on serious things about me. For years now he will continuously tell me that he’s so proud of me. That could be how I handle situations, where I choose to spend my time or jobs/activities/options I’ve turned down when others try and persuade me otherwise. I can come off as light-hearted and easy going (which I am), but when it comes to serious matters I act based on what I know is true. I don’t give into peer pressure easily and while I don’t seek praise for that my Dad always tells me he is proud, that I’m awesome and that he loves me. This paragraph made me feel so boastful, but I need to communicate that he is a Dad who notices things and he will be the first to tell you to stay strong and that you’re loved.
This past year a good friend of mine died and I couldn’t talk to Dad for a long time because I knew when I heard his voice I would break down again and just cry. We texted a bit, but I emotionally could not handle hearing his voice. After a month we finally talked and sure enough, I broke down, but it is because he said things that were soothing and comforting. It may be weird that I waited that long, but it is a compliment to him, even if it doesn’t come across that way. He would say things like, “I’m sure your heart is just too heavy right now, ” and “When you meet Jesus you’re going to ask about him and no matter what, you’ll be at peace with what He says.” He was so great.
He’s never surprised when I make a success. “Well you’re awesome.”
Some little girls will go around saying “my Daddy knows everything and when I grow up I want to marry him!”
Ok, I’m at the age where I know Daddy is married Mommy. But I’m still not convinced there is a man who knows more than my Dad. My Dad knows hard days–and has persevered. He has been faced with extremely hard situations and comes out strong because his trust isn’t in himself, but in God. He gives everything handed to him to our family and puts himself last. There may be people out there who know more Jeopardy questions than my Dad (maybe), but he has known what many men don’t know: how to be a man of God and love well.
I’m proud to call Steve Lentz my dad. His sacrifice for our family is in complete selflessness and his trust in God for provision is in complete faith. He sets the perfect example for my brothers for being a father and sets an example for us sisters for what we should look for in a husband. A man who is honest, has integrity, sacrifices for family and who obeys the Lord. Also a man who can make you laugh and finds your quirks adorable such as needing the air-conditioning at night although your under a mound of blankets or if you are known for throwing your arms in the air dramatically saying “uhahhhh!” for no reason. Maybe someone didn’t squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom to top again but instead found it easier to squeeze from the middle-up.
He is hilarious. All of us kids find him so funny. He also has one of the best laughs out of anyone I’ve met. He has this child like spirit in that he likes video games, silly TV shows, games, and computer games. Then he has a side that reads the paper everyday, reads daily, and works extremely hard.
He laughs at things no one thinks to laugh at, but once he does, then everyone does because they realize it’s funny. Recent funny things are…
Anna telling me that she told Dad how these two girls were yelling at each other at work and after he heard why, instead of being mad like Anna, he laughed.
Growing up he rarely went upstairs (parents bedroom was downstairs) and us siblings switched rooms a lot. I crack up remembering him going upstairs and knocking on the wrong door for a child.
If I lose during a game he laughs because while I’m trying to hold in my anger it always shows on my face.
He doesn’t like complaining and we were raised not to, but if he hears someone complain about something ridiculous, he cracks up. “Dad it is SO hot in this house. SERIOUSLY. I can’t even handle this.”
Anytime I go home it is important to him that he has one-on-one time with me, and that blesses me. He is an extremely busy man. He works full time, but he is also a coach, and on top of that he was elected Mayor of our hometown this past year. Before that he was a Trustee for the town. With practices, meetings and work he is busy, yet if I ever need to talk to him he will make it a priority to talk to me. And whenever we do he will end with, “well honey I am so proud of you. You work so hard.”
He’s de best, and any character strengths I have were most likely modeled by my Dad.