Thursday, November 17, 2016

My Shoes

I was sitting out in the fourier with Porter again a few Sundays ago during our Sacrament meeting. Maybe it's because he's our fourth, maybe it's because we're lazier, or maybe it's because we're smarter - for whatever the reason, we're just not as uptight about "making" him be reverent in church at such a young age for the first hour. It really takes the stress out of our Sabbath day, and at least one of us gets to listen to the talks and be uplifted. We've become believers of the "it's probably a little unrealistic to expect a 2 year old to be reverent for an hour" school of thinking. At any rate, I found myself with Porter out on the couch drawing with him and just talking about "life". For whatever reason, "Porter Pants" (as we call him) started showing me his shoes. He was really excited about them. As he showed me his shoes, I had an impression about his shoes - and my shoes. I started to think about how small they were next to mine. I started to think of how much more experience I have filled my shoes with and how because his shoes were so small, he had not nearly the "experience" in his young life to fill his shoes with. With less experience, comes less knowledge and understanding in some way. I didn't have Isaac or Makayla out in the hall with me because their experience has already taught them what is and isn't an appropriate way to behave in church. They have certainly learned by trial and error, but they have learned nonetheless; their experiences have filled their shoes already. I was just really impressed with the symbolism and then the wonder of how my shoes measure up to God's shoes in this way. The longer I am a Father of my own children, the more of an insight my Heavenly Father grants of His love for me - one of His children. And I have to say that I have learned that there is no limit to this love. My shoes (my understanding and experience) must look even more lopsided next to God's than mine and Porter's do. I'm trying to do my best to become who God would have me to become, but how many times is He patient with me, "taking me out to the fourier" and allowing me to grow into my shoes? I sometimes get embarrassed when I think of these moments; the times when I should know to His will, but resist. It is my job and purpose to teach and help Porter as he grows both temporally and spiritually to understand how he can become who not only I, his earthly father, but also who his Heavenly Father would have him become. What experiences does he need to fill his shoes with so that he can successfully navigate this life? How am I using my shoes to bless him? What tracks are they leaving so that as he follows in them, he will have the opportunity to fill the measure of his creation? Are my shoes worn down because we served others? Are they dirty because we played outside enough? Do I have enough different pairs? Has he seen my church shoes being worn as needed? Have I taught him the value of work because my work boots are worn through?
For now, his Mom and I are providing all of the shoes that he needs. We're trying to do our best to make sure his feet get to where they are supposed to go. And in the right shoes. In the end, it's our purpose to help Porter know how to find the right shoes on his own. Hopefully by following our tracks, his shoes will wear a path that is similar to the path that the Savior took. Hopefully this is also similar to the path that he has seen me take. I hope his shoes get dirty from playing outside. I hope the heels on his church shoes get worn down on the side that his walk favors. I hope his work shoes get worn out from finding a passion in life that will provide for his family. I hope the same heel on his work shoes as the one with his church shoes gets worn down from him helping with eagle projects, people moving in and out of his ward, and however else he can show his family that he is "bearing another's burden to make it light".
So Porter, for what's it's worth, my promise to you is that my tracks will lead you where I feel will bring you the greatest opportunity for happiness in your life. I'll do my best to make sure to love and guide you, just as our Heavenly Father has with me, as you grow into the different shoes of your life. Your tracks may wonder off the path from time to time. Mine did too. My hope is that while you are on the path with me though that you learned what you needed so that you can always find your way back - by following my tracks. In your shoes. Following my shoes.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Your Best

I was able to talk to Coach Matt today to let him know that you wouldn't be able to make it to your game on Saturday because we would be in Houston. It's always good to catch up with him to check in and get his perspective on how you are doing in soccer. Your Mom and I love to watch you kids play or be involved in something that you have a passion for. We just love to watch each of you do your best and do things that are challenging. Coach told me that you were doing great; he loves having you on the team. He did tell me something that I didn't know; something that you wouldn't talk to me about a few weeks ago. Several weeks ago after your game, you came to me with tears in your eyes, but blinking strategically so that they wouldn't fall. It's quite a talent that you have mastered - most notably remembered when we were at the Collin County Juvenile Detention Center having our "tour" with Officer Raymond. I remember your 6 year old self determined that you were going to be tough and not let those tears fall as he was "talking" to you. I was both proud and concerned at your demeanor as I watched, I'll have to admit. The defensive posture was completely instinctive for you to stand chest out, fists clinched. That fight that you were born with I would like to think came from me, but my experience with your mother over the last 13 years proves that it surely comes from her. That spirit of resilience has caused you quite a bit of grief in your young life, and surely will cause some more. But as you learn to harness it, it will certainly be a blessing to you in the challenges of life. I asked you what the problem was - you had played a great game. You wouldn't answer, actually telling me that you didn't want to talk about it. As your Dad, I am always wanting to "fix" whatever I can, so it was really hard for me to just let whatever was bothering you fester inside of you. I remember even asking again thinking that you may want to talk as you cooled down. Nope. So, I let it go and just hoped that you had worked it out on your own. Coach let me in on what was bothering you that night though. He said that he saw that something was wrong with you on the soccer field, so he subbed you out - something that he rarely does because of your value on the team. He said that you told him "nothing" at first, but then when pressed he said you told him that the kid that you were defending was faster than you as a tear rolled down your face. I know that usually you are one of, if not the fastest on the field any given day. It is so impressive to watch you glide by kids on the field as you chase the ball down. I will admit though that that particular team had a kid on it that was blazing fast. I couldn't believe actually how he moved on the field. You did a great job defending him, but in the open field, no one could come close to his speed. I want to share a few things about this - for what it's worth. Although we are blessed with many talents, and some that we may even excel at naturally, we need to remember that there is sometimes going to be someone a little faster, a little bigger, or a little smarter even than us. In fact, we need to plan on that being the case. We need to prepare ourselves and use this as motivation to help us achieve at a higher level. I hope that you will continually ask yourself how you can prepare today because tomorrow you may run into someone that may be a little faster or stronger. Our natural abilities will only take us so far; we need to continually work to better ourselves both temporally and spiritually to improve our bodies and minds so that when we meet a challenge seemingly bigger than ourselves, we can face them knowing that we are at least prepared. So, for what it's worth, the one thing that we can control is our preparation. Train hard on your Tuesday and Thursday practices so that you can be "the one" that is faster, and a little better than your opponent. And if you find yourself on the other end - don't panic. Trust in yourself and do your best. When you are giving your best effort consistently in practice and at "game time", you will have no need to fear or feel down about your performance, because you will know it was your best. I will always be proud of your effort, no matter the outcome, when the effort is your best.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My "Kaylagirl"

My Kaylagirl is 9 years old now. I've always heard how parents say how amazing it is that their kids grow up so fast. Maybe that's why it's hard to accept that they are actually getting older. My memories of her 2 year old birthday party are so fresh in my mind that it's sometimes hard to remember that she can do multiplication and reminds me that she is perfectly capable of staying home by herself (for short periods of time, of course. With me calling and checking on her . . . often. With her telling me that she has to go now when I do call to check on her)
On par with growing up comes the challenges that we all face with experience. Although natural, it doesn't make it any easier for me as a Dad to watch my kids face difficult times. I'm ok with challenges, I like to watch my kids work them out and learn from them. But when their challenges involve heart break or disappointment, my heart breaks for them as well. My greatest desire is to take their hurt from them, to make it better. But I know that my heart breaks and disappointments are what helped me to become who I am today. I still feel as if I didn't really need all of them that I got, but somehow it's worked out fine.
To my Makayla: The other day you told me how your friend at school hurt your feelings because she said you weren't very good at something (3rd grade fair). I know how hard it can be to be told that you aren't good enough. It can hurt and make you feel hollow inside. As your Dad, I want you to know how great you really are. We all look and crave acceptance from those we love. Sometimes we search for acceptance from those that we are better off not being with. I've learned that our true friends are those that lift our spirits in spite of our circumstances (or our deficiencies). That's how you come to find who your true friends are. Friendship is something that will be a huge blessing in your life. Friends can be a source of comfort, love, and support that you will come to depend on at different points in your life. My biggest piece of advice about friendship is to be the best friend that you can be to those around you. Be genuine and be free with your love and support. Friendship is like a lot of things in life, the more you give, the more you receive in return.
So my Makayla, for what it's worth, let your loving personality run wild in your friendships. Understand that not everyone will give back what they receive from you, but don't hold that against them. Be the best friend that you can be to your friends and you will find that you will always be surrounded by people that will do the same for you.
And if that doesn't seem to work out just come to me, wherever I am, and I will just give you snuggles and hugs till you feel better.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

For What It's Worth

This is where it all started. I remember this day pretty well. I had been very sick for the few weeks leading up to our wedding. Really sick. (Notice my collar a little loose around my neck - I lost over 15 pounds over those 2 weeks.) But on the morning of our wedding, it just seemed to go away. I felt great. My parents had flown in the night before to meet my future wife for the first time. That sounds weird to some at first, my parents meeting Chauntel for the first time the night before we got married, but I guess the pattern started there of just how things work with our family. Not everything is so traditional, I guess.
The wedding went fine. We were married 10 years ago in the Seattle Temple, with a ceremony that we believe will "seal" us for time and eternity. The concept of a "forever family" is important to us; how important we would never know until our family began to grow with children.
I remember something that our sealer taught us before we were married. He told us to never keep score in our marriage and to look to be selfless. I will say that it has been great advise; advise not always headed with me, but over and over with my wife. She is a peacemaker and keeps our home running with the Spirit of love.
As mentioned below the title of this blog, this is intended for my children. I hope at some point they they will look back on this and find love and counsel to help them through the trial of life. As the Lord has trusted Chauntel and I with children, they have brought the greatest joy and concern to us. The joys of parenthood have easily outweighed all the frustration and concern. Watching the children achieve, win, lose, learn - all the different scenarios that they go through have given me a deeper love and understanding of the joy and sorrow God perhaps feels towards me, one His children. I hope to be the Dad that I need to be in order to teach my children and equip them to make it through life's struggles. I hope they will treat others with respect, because they see me treat others that way. I hope they will look to serve others because they see their mother and I do that. As I find "snapshot" moments, I'll take the opportunity to post the moment and the lesson hopefully learned from it. We'll see how it goes. It seems as if there is a snapshot each day worthy of posting.