Rite of Passage: My two sons
After raising two sons, I must say they have only one thing in common: my last name. I’m not kidding. You couldn’t imagine two children who were given life from the same parents, grew up in the same home, attended the same church and yet came out so different.
Yes, if you threw out a word and asked someone to name its opposite, each pair would describe my sons: organized/disorganized; risk-taker/cautious; disciplined/undisciplined. The difference in these two boys is uncanny.
Both our sons called the other night, and I want to give you the gist of these two phone calls.
Our youngest, Caleb, called to tell us about an adventure. That night, as he and his wife drove into their driveway and got out of the car, they heard a voice from across the street: “Help! Somebody help me!”
My son looked up and saw flames coming from the roof of the man’s carport. Running across the street, he yelled to his wife, Adrian, to call 911.
When he arrived at the carport, he found an elderly man beside several little pots and pans filled with water, trying in vain to put out the fire. Caleb spotted a fire extinguisher and attempted to douse the flames, but they had grown too large for the small device to be effective. He yelled at the man, “Go get your water hose and turn it on!”
As the old man tottered off, my son spotted a larger fire extinguisher. He tucked it under his arm and climbed on top of the carport, using the decorative scroll of the carport legs as footholds. When he swung himself over the edge to the roof, the billowing smoke blinded him. Unable to see, he aimed the extinguisher at the place he thought the fire was coming from.
The larger extinguisher did the job. About the time Caleb had the flames subdued, the elderly man showed up and began spraying him with the hose.
“Not me—the fire! The fire!” Caleb yelled. Finally, the elderly man redirected the water and together they finished putting out the fire.
Just then, the firefighters showed up to take over. Caleb walked home and called to tell us about his incredible day.
Our oldest son, Jeremiah, is a coach and public school teacher at West Mesquite High in Mesquite, Texas. He teaches geography and coaches basketball. In reality, he teaches life. He sees his classroom as a way for students to recast and redirect their futures.
The school has its share of lower-income students who don’t have many advantages. But Jeremy’s teaching gives them one. Like a brush arbor evangelist, he engages, challenges and questions the students about their direction in life and what it takes to become successful. I love to teach his class because I get to see the admiration and respect his students give him. He earns it every day he walks down those hallways.
Not long ago, Jeremy got his first student teacher. She’s been teaching now for a number of weeks. But some days and some lessons are too important to pass off to a newbie. The day Jeremy called us was one of those.
As he walked into a class of freshmen, they began to clap, excited about his return. When he reached the front of the classroom, he turned around. His students had risen to their feet. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of a group of students in a public school giving their teacher a standing ovation, but Jeremy received one that day.
Some days, being a parent feels like the worst job on the Earth. How will you ever get anything past those thick skulls? But before long, you get a couple of telephone calls and you think to yourself, “Maybe we did something right after all.”
The more I think about it, the more I realize something. Although their personalities are as far apart as the east is from the west, my two boys have something in common after all. They both make a difference in the lives of others.
As Jesus looked up, He saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in her two mites. “Truly I tell you,” He said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)
I didn’t have two mites to give Jesus, but I did have two sons. A long time ago, I gave them both to the Lord so that He would use them as He saw fit. And do you know what? He has.
Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827)