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Michael W. Smith on “The Way of the Father”

Smith says, “The only time I ever saw him really get upset was when my songs didn't go No. 1. He just couldn’t figure that out. I'm going, ‘Dad, all my songs can't go No. 1.’ And he'd go, ‘Why not, son? You're the best.'"

Michael W. Smith’s musical achievements span five decades. From pop to contemporary Christian music, he’s garnered worldwide recognition. And perhaps his biggest fan was his late father, Paul Smith.

“He's the oldest guy dancing in the aisle and singing every word to all my songs. He knew every word to every song.”

His new book, The Way of the Father is an emotional tribute to his own father; a man he loved dearly.

Will Dawson says, “As an artist, you know you have something powerful when you're able to get vulnerable. In your book, The Way of the Father, you certainly do that.”

“Yeah, I do. I learned that from my dad probably. Whatever good that's in me today, first and foremost is Christ's work in me. But second is my dad and so I get emotional a little bit talking about my dad a little cause he was for me my whole life,” says Smith.

Paul Smith’s passion was baseball where he excelled in the minor leagues before giving up his dream to support his family. Paul coached a young Michael W. and the two shared a bond through the game.

Dawson says, “What did you learn through him, through the game of baseball that taught you Biblical lessons?”

Smith responds, “Well, he never raised his voice. He never got mad. You know, I tell a crazy story in there about the Dairy Queen thing. If you won you got to go to Dairy Queen. I remember that first game we got beat 30 to nothing, and my dad walks in the dugout and he just says – and our heads are hung in shame, we thought the world would come to an end, you know, for these eight and nine-year-old kids. And he said, ‘Boys, we'll get 'em next time. Let's go to Dairy Queen.’ And he did that 15 times in a row. So – and then we won the last game, which was amazing and guess what? We went to Dairy Queen! But when I talk about the book I say I think my dad really taught me what God's like, in some – in a lot of ways."

Michael credits his father’s patience and prayers during a difficult season in his life.

He says, “You know, I had a really difficult little four-year battle with bad, bad choices. I went through just '75-79 just drugs and just, I mean I just got deceived. I was in this pit and I couldn't get out. And I knew that was not my destiny. I knew I was breaking my mom and dad's heart. And I think they saw that I was a mess. I was spiraling and so I remember my dad went – he asked if I'd come on the front porch. And he said, ‘Son," he said, ‘you're going to have to pull it together.’ And I remember my head was just you know, (SLIGHT LAUGH) it was like, ‘I know, Dad. I know, Dad. I know. I know this is not my destiny. I know, Dad.’ That's all I could say cause he was right. I had to pull it together. And what pulled it together was the prayers of my mom and dad. I'm totally convinced to this day that they saved my life. And that's why I'm here talking to you.’”

Dawson says, “It is a reminder of how, in the parable of the prodigal son, the father was there with his arms wide open. And that was your dad.”

Smith nodding responds, “My dad's arms were wide open the whole time. That’s what I love about the book cause my – as I said, my dad taught me what God was like in so many ways and so you just – you take those stories about my dad and you equate that with the father heart of God, you know.”

Dawson says, “One name that kept coming up through the book was Abba Father…”

“I love Abba Father,” says Smith. “I love calling Him that, I call Him that all the time. But when you get this thing where Abba not only loves you, but He actually really likes you and He's extremely fond of you, it changes everything. It changes the way you look at life. You wake up every day and you feel confident. So when you have that peace, then you just want to change the world.”

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