I’m thinking about my sons today. My oldest son, Derek is 22 years old and serving in the Army at Ft. Carson, Colorado. My youngest, Craig, is 19 years old and is a freshman at the University of Evansville.
Why are they on my mind? A friend of mine put this quote on facebook today:
You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes. ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
I thought about that quote for a while and realized, as different as my sons are, they are both a hero to me.
I was an unwed mother when Derek was born. I remember looking at him, just hours after giving birth, and telling him, “It’s just us, my little man.” I totally fell in love with him. My mom called him our “brown-eyed handsome man” and he was. He brought so much joy to my life. At a time when things were so uncertain…I was certain that he was everything that was good in life. As he grew, his love of sports, especially baseball, brought us closer. He is a natural athlete and almost every sport he tried, he picked up quickly. But at baseball, he excelled. In high school, he was the catcher and other teams thought twice before they tried to take an extra base from him. Maybe that is why he was so good at stealing bases. I loved to watch him stand on first base, take a lead, dip his right shoulder ever so slightly and know, a split second before he moved, that he was going. Then to watch him put his head down and run to second, sliding in just under the glove of the shortstop…safe!
Derek was also an advocate for those who were the underdog. I remember the only time he ever got in trouble on the school bus was for sticking up for a younger student who was being bullied by someone bigger than Derek. He didn’t care…he just couldn’t stand to see anyone suffer. Derek went on several mission trips and worked at our church’s work camp each summer. Derek always had stories to tell that the homeowners would share with him. He never knew a stranger growing up and that is a quality that allows people to feel they can talk to Derek, even if they just met him.
Derek also cares deeply for his family. His younger brother had asthma when he was little and I think at times, it physically hurt Derek as much as it did Craig…he hated to see his little brother in pain. I think that’s why Derek joined the Army. To try to help those who were oppressed; those who couldn’t speak for themselves or if they could, didn’t have a voice big enough to be heard. Derek has such a huge heart…I love him so much!
Likewise, my son Craig cares deeply for others. Through school and church, Craig is always finding ways to help other people in his life. He gives of himself and his time. In high school, he and a friend started CIA, Charity in Action, a community service club. They have worked at the homeless shelter, at an inner city church and various other activities. Craig has been on numerous mission trips and works at our church’s work camp each summer. Craig loves to help others and to teach others…is it any wonder that teaching is his college major?
Craig and I also share a love for reading. When the boys were little, my favorite time of the day was bedtime. I loved sitting on their beds, reading stories to them and sometimes, making up stories of my own. Craig has that gift…the gift of writing. In grade school, he began to write his own series of anime. His writing has grown and matured and that talent shines in his college papers. We also love to read many of the same books. It’s so much fun to discuss a book that we both have read and hear his view point.
Both of my sons are gifted at music and I love to hear them sing, especially praise music. There are so many ways in which Derek and Craig bring me joy. But I think their ability to care for people is what makes them heros in my book.
Jim and I did not attend church when we met and married, but soon after Craig was born, the desire to give them the good foundation we both received burned in us. Like us, our sons have struggled, but know that they are loved by us and by their Father in heaven. It says in the bible that if you train a child in the way he should go, he will not turn from it in his old age. (Proverbs 22:6)
I think the other reason I was thinking of my sons today, is because I know so many people who have children who are struggling…and my heart breaks for them. I didn’t write what is written above just to brag on my children. I’m very proud of who they are, but they aren’t perfect. They have their own issues they have to deal with each day. But I think by writing down the positive and praising God for the men they have grown to be, is the place to begin. Thanksgiving. And then, I ask God to protect them and guide them.
I challenge each of you with children to do the same. Write down the praises you have about your children and thank God for them. And then pray that they will seek Him and his will for their lives. God bless you and your children.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11