15 03 2015

You would have thought the world was coming to an end by the urgency and trouble in my friend’s voice as we spoke over Rock _nthe phone. Evidently he was not ready for the devastating news he had just received and wasn’t sure if he or his wife would ever recover fully from its impact. I wasn’t prepared either for this unusual cry of distress from my old friend there in Iowa. Typically he was very upbeat telling me all the wonderful things he and his family had been doing and he was especially proud of his four daughters and their sporting activities. Being quite the athlete in his high school days, winning a scholarship to college for track and football, it was no surprise that all the children were involved with sports also. And Jim (my buddy) loved to brag on them, even had an area in their house called the brag room that displayed the trophies, ribbons and awards the girls had won. So I was used to sitting back, sipping on a cup of coffee, listening to the latest impressive feat one or more of his gals had performed during softball, volleyball, track, tennis or basketball season. On occasion it would get a little long, but I have a rule never to stop a parent from bragging on their children, matter of fact I enjoyed it. But this time there were no stories of heroic accolades from Jim, he was too distraught from the news his 2nd youngest had just given him. Addie, as they called her was just finishing her freshman year where she excelled in both volleyball and basketball so much that is sounded like it was a sure thing she’d be starting varsity the rest of her high school years with talk of even state recognition and scholarship offers well before she ever graduated. So what was the terrible news that Addie announced to her mom and dad that had them giving thought to going skydiving without a parachute? Was she deathly sick and they didn’t know? No. Did she want to drop out of school and join the circus? Nope. Was she (God forbid) pregnant?!!! Sorry, none of the above. The bombshell their precious Addie had just dropped was–ready for this?

Wait on it,

Wait on it,

She was quitting all sports!!!!

“How she could take everything we’ve worked so hard for and just throw it away when it was finally going to mean something?” Jim threw that at me in question form, but not expecting me to give an answer. “I don’t who’s talking and putting these dumb things in her head, but I’m going to find out; and if she thinks she’s going to be a quitter just like that, she’s got another thing coming!”

Our conversation was over shortly there after, Jim wasn’t in the mood to talk and I didn’t have anything to say, at least nothing he wanted to hear. Figured the best thing I could do was wait and pray.

It was over a year before I heard from Jim; he was in town and invited me to lunch. It was a good visit and we shared some laughs about our college days before I got the nerve up to say, “So how’s Addie these days?” There was a quick burst of laughter from Jim and then, “Oh yeah, we were talking on the phone the day, that day when she hit us with her bomb weren’t we?” Then he went, “Yeah, everything’s good now, Addie’s grades are great and she’s now on the debate team, she’s a natural arguer.” Then with a sly smile, “She must have got that from her mother.” He knew what I was wondering, so he then got right to it. “That night got pretty loud at our house as I tried to convince Addie that she was making the biggest mistake of her life, one that she would regret someday. There was threats, yelling and crying between the two of us, until her last sentence. I shouted I don’t see how you could throw away everything you’ve worked so hard for!” Jim was quiet for a second before he went on. “She yelled back at me, because it hasn’t been for me, it’s been for you! I’ve tried to tell you in the past that I wanted to do some other things besides sports, but you and mom wouldn’t hear of it. I felt I didn’t have a choice, well now I do and I’m finished, I’m going to do other things that make me happy, not you!” “Wow, what do you say after that?” I asked Jim. “What could I say? It was like getting hit in the face with a bucket of ice water, but it was true. I was living my dream in Addie, not listening or letting her do what she wanted. I tried to make her into something she didn’t want, and I nearly lost what made her the most important to me, my daughter.”

“I don’t want my children to be what I want them to be. I want them to become    everything God created them to be.” Jon Gordon

Jim and his wife learned a valuable lesson that day with their daughter Addie, one that probably most of us could use. We can guide, advise, instruct, and even admonish our children in the direction they go in life, but we can’t live that life for them; the final decision of what course they choose must be their own. We’ve seen all three of our kids make decisions that went against what my Lady and I felt was best for their lives, sometimes it was painful to watch, but still we had to let them go. As babies we dedicated each of them to the Lord with the prayer, “God they’re yours first, guide and mold them into what you want them to be. Like I said, it’s been hard at times, but I can thankfully say I am proud of what each have achieved as they have grown, both physically and spiritually.

For ones who parent like Jim and me, we want our children to grow up living for Christ first and foremost, so we put to memory the verse, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).

Andy Stanley puts it this way “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.” And if I may add to that, “By letting them be who God meant them to be all along. Guide? Yes, but they must go the direction as a “Traveler of the Rock Road” that has been set before them, set in their hearts. Parents, we can continue to do what God wants us to for our children, be there if they need us, and pray a lot!

Addie is grown now with a family of her own; she’s gone on to be an elementary school teacher. As for sports, she still stays active with pick up games of basketball in her driveway with the kids and her husband. As for her and Dad, Jim, well everything worked out and they became closer than ever. They even found an activity they like doing together nowadays; co-coaching her son’s soccer team.

Gotta Love It!!
See ya soon.




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