My Father’s Rules

Most of us live by our father’s rules. The unspoken rules are usually the most powerful. (The Father Factor)

I learned from my father that the most important thing in life is faith in God. Either you had it or you didn’t. People could be divided into whether or not they had this faith. It was an either-or proposition.

I learned that our lives in this fallen old world were like a homework assignment. We would be graded by God according to whether or not we had faith in His son Jesus and then our reward would be eternal or our punishment would be severe though finite.

So I learned that this life is a slog, an assignment, a test, a journey through a vale of tears. It was like homework. Not many people enjoy homework but it is necessary.

* I learned to be suspicious of bachelors. They might be gay.

* I learned that men and women should not be alone together in case it led to immorality.

I remember when I was about nine and my step-mom had to meet with some man at my home on Sabbath afternoon and my parents insisted that I stay home then so there could be no appearance of anything improper taking place. I was dying to go for a walk and certain of my parents morality — I never wavered here — so this left a strong impression on me.

Because I grew up in close-knit Seventh-Day Adventist communities, I learned about keeping up appearances and avoiding even the appearance of impropriety. It was not enough to do right, you had to act in a way that looked right to others.

* I learned to exaggerate for rhetorical effect.

* I learned you could slam anyone after you first used the incantation, “He’s a fine Christian gentleman but…”

* I learned that cities are evil and the country is good.

* Fresh air is good, even at the price of comfort.

* Coffee, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, meat and drugs are bad.

* Cars are bad and dangerous. We didn’t get a car in America until September of 1980.

* Play is dumb, a waste, and even bad unless you’re using it to become more productive.

* It doesn’t matter what you eat now and again.

* Sport is idolatry unless you’re using it to become healthier and more productive.

* Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

* In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.

* The world is a dangerous place.

* Don’t spend your health to get your wealth.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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