Tag Archives: Olympics

The Power Of a Godly Father in His Son’s Life

I’ve been thinking more about the Redmond video I posted yesterday.   I have to feel that every part of that video is an analogy illustrating something good in the relationship of a father and his son in a very broad sense.  As I go through my work with young people, young men, as a youth pastor, teacher, mentor….. I see so much anger….so many boys who have just gone off the rails… in every case there was no man in the boy’s life…

No father… no mentors…. no role models… no leaders…. no one….

Abandoned kids… abandoned boys…. adrift, angry, like rogues… I recall a fascinating story about a problem in Africa with young bull elephants….

If a young male elephant is raised without a bull elephant around… it seems to lose control… it goes wild…. roaming through the country side with other young rogue adolescent elephants destroying everything in their path… essentially gangs… they are led by their testosterone at its worst…. power without direction…. power unchanneled. 

Apparently, the solution is to capture the crazed adolescent then put it in with fully grown bulls, larger, more powerful, experienced…   so the story goes the bulls will get the young elephant between them just holding it until it calms down… that will be repeated when it gets out of control… nothing horrible… no goring… no damage… the other bulls just restrain the adolescent until it calms enough to follow their example…

Could it be…. possible … that young human males are at least analogous to young elephants…. that without the leadership of a strong father…. they… go wild?    Can a young man become so lost without the example of a father that he strikes out at everything?  I think so. 

I am watching the little league world series… the coaches are miked… what they say to a kid on the field can be heard by millions of people…. a young boy is pitching…. obviously nervous…. not settled…. like a young colt… unsure… frightened….

His coach walks calmly out to the mound, signalling time out as he does… the boy simply stands waiting… the first words out of the coaches mouth are “you are doing great”…. the boy stands with his head down turning the ball…listening to his coach as the coach praises his skill, his character…. as the coach tells him how proud he is of the young pitcher… he gives him a hint about pitching… the camera angle changes… the slight smile on the boys face is visible… his coach pats him on the shoulder and says “you are the best, have fun, just have fun”….  as the coach turns and walks away the boy wipes his sleeve across his eyes… takes a deep breath… stands up straight and strikes out the next two batters….  And I think… it is that simple…  

Derek Redmond was seemingly alone when he started his race for the gold at the 92 Olympics…. but he wasn’t alone… the entire lifetime his father had spent with him was there… in his entire being…. the tenacity his father had taught him….probably just by example…. was with him… but most important…. his father actually was with him…. an appropriate distance away because his son had gone on his way as the Bible teaches that young men must do…. but his father was watching…

Derek had obviously been taught independence… determination… character… because when his father did see he needed help… he came to his side… and when he did…. he said “you don’t have to do this”… but Derek said… “Yes, I do”…..

What happened next… he gave his son just the help he needed… he kept the people who would stop him away… he just removed the stumbling blocks from his path… and he gave him support when he needed it…. but then something even more important happened….

When they approached the finish line Derek’s father let him go…. he released him to let his injured son finish the race by himself….

Derek’s father was being the perfect Biblical example of a father… he had trained Derek up in the way he should go… Derek had already proven that when he said “Yes, I do”…. Derek’s father then allowed his son to be the man he wanted to be by finishing the race alone.  His father could have gone over the finish line with his son…

but he knew something about young men…. they need dignity… they need to feel both supported but strong enough to do it themselves…. and at every opportunity a Godly father will let his son have the responsibility he needs to grow into the man he wants and needs to be…. so that he can carry that responsibility… that sense or ability and confidence into his work life…. his relationship with a woman…. he relationship with other men…. and to be an exemplary father to his own children….

The power of a Godly father in his sons’ life was shown in that simple video…. the power to direct strength…. to teach responsiblity… to teach courage… tenacity… to teach all the traits men need to make it through life… and something else was obvious to me…. though I could not see or hear it… I’m betting that at some point in that run with his father Derek heard the words “I love you son”. ….. “I am proud of you”…  just as I am sure he heard them throughout his life… 

Those all important words… I know… will be repeated to Derek Redmond’s own sons and daughters… as he leads them by the example his father used to lead him.

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Derek Redmond in the 1992 olympics, His father raised him up

This is an earthly Father…. with a heart filled with such love one is amazed and brought to tears….

He would not be kept away from his son who was down, hurt and to weary…..

His son was hurt and his heart was burdened, and he sat there on the track until his father came…

His father who raised him up to continue his race……”You don’t have to do this” the father said… the son…”Yes I do”… the father “The we will do it together”

This earthly father carried his son until he got him near the finish line, then he released him to finish his race by himself on his own two feet. 

He gave his son the greatest gift that day… he gave himself and exemplary love….

He gave other fathers a great gift that day as well…. an example of how a father should be…

How much more will our Heavenly Father do for us…. in different ways.

He is all forgiving… all loving… perfect

He is filled with justice… our wrongs will be cured and our injuries will be healed.

Oh, there have been so many times when He was with me but there were only one set of footprints in the sand…

Those were the times he was carrying me… lifting me… being the air beneath my wings…

Raising me up so I can stand on mountains….

Calling me out of the boat to walk on stormy seas…

My Heavenly Father raises me up to more than I can be….

I’ve stood on mountains, I’ve walked on stormy seas, I been lost in abject wilderness,

But you raised me up Father….

I am strong when I am on your shoulders….

You raise me up to more than I can be….

Oh my Father…. You raise me up.

 

Tá cion agam ort, a stór mo chroí

I love you…Tá cion agam ort … ancient, beautiful,  my ancestral language… the Irish language.   

A language shared between an American boy… a French girl…  two human hearts caught in love between each other… and music… and God.

Thankfulness for a language… yes…  the language of our love and our life… not as much as the language shared between our eyes… between our hearts… our lips…  

How precious were the hours I listened to her bring life to an ancient violin…an instrument made in love several hundred years before…  love in sound… love disguised as soft music floating through the cold shimmering air above the great Puget Sound…   the golden light from inside the old cabin giving illumination to her long blond hair…  time held still

She gave me life… the heart beating in her living body each day giving me love… and in giving me love… giving me life…

I am so thankful… thankful that I had her warmth for a while… thankful that I saw the love she gave me freely in her perfect eyes… the love I knew was mine as she touched me…  for there is a touch that only those in profound, holy love will ever know…   there is a love so deep that it will never leave… I am so thankful that years and years can be lived and loved in the briefest of times… the feel of her hand as she caressed the hair from my eyes as we stood in awe of the wind coming off the Olympic peaks… as we held each other on cliffs where the massive Pacific waves crash into the headlands of America for the first time after their long journey…. Cape Flattery… Forks…  where I saw the golden setting sun glow in her eyes…

She stood with me… made me feel such strength as I’ve never felt…  made  me love as I never had before… made me love my God as I never could before…  I saw God in everything she did… the way she cradled a childs’ face…  the way she gave love to those who wanted just to be near her… to feel her presence… to touch her…

The way she worshiped God… The way she lived her faith…

The way she spoke of me… the way she held my hand as we met others… the way she came to me… how she made me feel and be so much more than I was… the fear she took from me…

Thankfulness… that I could be loved by a radiant being such as she… that I could stand in that radiance for a while… the gift she gave both of us in a little boy…

Thankfulness… for how she held Joel… for the first moment she gave him to me… a love too deep for tears… a time when I was young and and she made me feel strong to protect them both…

Thankfulness …  for time… though short… yet so long… 

Thankfulness… for a world seen in beauty with a woman who lifted me to wonder at the marvel of how such love, such beauty could be… for music made more tender and pure by love for one so tender and pure… for giving me her pure soul as she stood near me drawing music from that beautiful instrument… giving me the passion to return what she gave to me through the musicians who so lovingly let us touch each other in the music they made…  and who gave a us another way to express our love to one another.

Thankfulness… for when I first held her, I could then make music I could not begin to understand before… to have lived enough through her to be able to somehow show an orchestra or a chorus to turn a phrase just so… so the truest, purest meaning I could hear inside my heart could be sent out into the living air…  for just a moment to connect our music to the source of all music…

I am thankful to God for you, a Godly woman, the greatest gift…

And as I said on that beautiful cliff side overlooking the Pacific on that last day…

Laura, Tá cion agam ort, a stór mo chroí….

Laura, I love you, love of my heart…

Hope, like the gleaming taper’s light,
Adorns and cheers our way;
And still, as darker grows the night
Emits a brighter ray.
From The Captivity (act II, sc. 1) by Oliver Goldsmith