Monday, April 19, 2010
One of my blessings - my oldest son!
Sergeant Rob in front of his vintage Camaro just before leaving the military
Sergeant Rob in rural NE Afghanistan
I am very blessed to have six children. Four of them are my biological children and two were "grafted in" by marriage but are still my kids as far as I am concerned. I want the best for them and root for them and am so glad they are all Christians.
Tomorrow my son Robert turns 27 years old. He lives at home, but do not think ill of him, he gave five years of his life to the military and was in harms way overseas in Afghanistan where he might have been wounded or killed. I know the honor of having served in the military but I also know the life of a military parent, praying every day and night that my son would live and come back from warfare in one piece. Thankfully for us he did.
Not all parents are so lucky or blessed. Some see our children go off into battle and then never see them again. You see, when a soldier dies it is not just him that dies, a little piece of family and friends dies too.
In my family military service is an ordinary choice many of us have made or agreed to but fortunately the vast majority of my family and necessarily my ancestors lived through their terms of service successfully. I thank God that my son is alive and I grieve with any of you who have lost a loved one in battle. Do not ask why I value the military so highly, for it should be obvious. Do not ask me why I fight the battle of the ballot box, because this arises from the same purpose and reasoning and identity. I am a Christian. I am an American. I value my God-given rights and I will put time and effort and money and have risked my life to preserve my country and my rights. I will not easily yield them to socialist extremists even if enough of them hoodwinked the electorate and got into public office.
For their birthdays, I will be extolling my kids this coming year beginning with Robert. I will avoid last names to try to cut down on telemarketers and such, but Robert Charles was named in three ways:
1) In honor of his grandfather Robert, a highly decorated WWII veteran (POW, Purple Heart and a few more) of the Army Air Corps.
2) In honor of my spiritual father, a man named Charles Robert
3) According to family tradition that calls for male children to carry the name of a king of Scotland.
Rob is now studying to be a high school history teacher and he is also an assistant drug store manager as he both works and goes to school. He is also a staffer with me and my wife on the youth group staff at our church. He mentors young men, plays basketball with them and is simply a great example to the teenagers.
My son was a remarkable natural athlete, the fastest kid at his grade school and an acrobat who was constantly climbing up on things and jumping off of them without harm. But he was faced with a condition that caused his legs to begin bowing and faced several surgeries between his early years and the sixth grade. The surgeries robbed him of some of his speed but he was (and still is) one great shooting guard with a wicked crossover dribble and dozens of moves going to the hoop and yet a deadly outside jumper.
Rob is also a guy with a big heart and one who has faced terrific hardships and heartaches with courage. I know of a few of the hard things life threw his way and I am so proud of his reactions to the cards dealt to him. He is a fighter, he perseveres and he continues to have one of the great smiles of all time. A happy Rob cheers up the entire household. A sorrowful one cannot hide his sorrow.
A crusader like his father, Robert is a man to be proud of in many ways. He is a talented singer who excels at singing lead but can harmonize (He is a baritone). He is a very skilled driver, which is one reason he and a handful of companions are alive and not dead because his driving ability doubtless saved the lives of everyone in a certain Humvee at a certain time and road and altercation about three years ago (the details of which are not to be told) at the point of the spear in Afghanistan. Since he is my son I would love him anyway. But to not only love your son but to be his friend in the adult years is even better.
As children I had my children learn hymns and song and memorize Bible verses. We read the Bible together almost every day. We read both Old and New Testament and I explained meanings of passages to them. We bought children's recordings and videos with Christian themes. I absolutely and unhesitatingly indoctrinated my children with the Bible and my belief in Christ and when they were still relatively young each one of them receieved Christ and asked to be baptized.
It is the job of the father to be the primary breadwinner in the family but also to be the leader and the example to his children. The mother is to be the heart of the family and the glue, the partner of the father and together they present a united parental front who do their best to train up their children to be responsible young men and women and to go forth to do more than just get a job and a paycheck but also to have a mission and a calling to follow. We do not believe that just making things good for yourself is enough, we believe that we have a responsibility to others to help them and persuade them of what is true and just and right.
So we do give away part of what we receive and we teach our children to do the same. We consider our responsibility to others and so we get involved in various activities and groups. I also do a great deal of posting on various subjects that deal with metaphysical and philosophical areas of discussion on this blog and others. Robert has a website where he discusses Christianity with other people of his approximate age range. None of these things pay me anything or pay him anything. In fact I turned down a paid job to work blogging for a baseball team because I believed that this coming election and the things I am involved with concerning that election are of much more value than getting a few bucks having fun with sportswriting, even though I love writing about sports.
In short, I am most happy to have a son who makes a great friend and a great example to young people and who proudly and honorably and bravely served his country. Rob, I can hardly wait to see you get married and have little Roblings...but I am certain you are wise in not getting serious about girls until you have your degree or at least have reached the tail end of your last year of school. You are wiser and more mature than I was at your age! Happy Birthday!
Rob is home!