Last night our son Tim Sandmeyer graduated from Calvary Christian High School in Clearwater, Florida. It was one of the best blessings of our family’s life since his birth and salvation 5 years ago.
The renowned author, philosopher, and theologian C. S. Lewis once wrote:
“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”
I heartily agree, and that is the reason my wife and I decided from the outset of Tim’s schooling to give the kind of education from which he would have a lifetime of Christian values upon which to build the kind of life that brings him joy, success, and honor to God, himself and his community.
It presented enormous challenges to our finances and faith to accomplish this. Sports physicals, tutors, emotional support for him and for us just scratch the surface of what we have begun as parents. The location of the school itself, in relation to our jobs, made it necessary to involve my wonderful, and loving in-laws in Tim’s transportation to and from many events and this will never be forgotten. Often, my father-in-law was mistaken for Tim’s dad because he was so often seen with him due to my work schedule. Last year, when I was laid up and unable to drive for six months, he and my mother-in- law kept the taxi service in business.
This is not the end for him or us, but the beginning. My next challenge is to keep this at the forefront of my mind as Tim enters young adulthood and a life of independence.
The values of which Lewis spoke are of utmost importance in a day and age where the word itself is little more than a tag line or sound-byte to accomplish something often subterranean in meaning, and insidious in the hearts and intents of others.
I love the saying that goes something to the effect that life’s greatest achievements are accomplished by those who recognize that the best opportunities are often disguised as impossible situations. I think it is important for every parent to instill this belief in their children and encourage them to dream big and resolve to be the best at whatever career choice they make.
My relationship with Tim became much more rewarding when I let him be himself and not what I tried to mold him into, especially concerning his career. Tim wants to be a certified auto mechanic and work on racing cars. He is absolutely passionate about it and to see the joy on his face last night, as he walked across that stage to get his diploma revealed this passion to me in all its brightness.
He was joyful beyond the occasion itself, and showed a level of confidence and strength I had seen little of before. It truly was an answered prayer. An answer to a prayer I said daily on my way to the office for Tim’s success in achieving his goals, prosperity as a result of those achievements, joy, and peace.
On the wall of my office, I have a framed placard that says in bold capital letters, “I WILL NOT WORRY!” In smaller print underneath is one of my favorite scriptures:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-8
It’s hard for me to do this, but I must remind myself that the life of faith is a life of surrender, trust, and obedience to God. I believe that the best thing a parent can do is to show a life of surrender to the Lord to their children and then let them grow by that example. It’s not easy, but it is essential to their proper development. God rewards this, also. Our son’s graduation last night was one of many rewards He has given us and the best is yet to come, without question.
Christian values are important but so are disciplined practices. God often will not act in the life of a saved person unless we are prepared to meet Him, walk with Him, and trust in Him to do what he promises throughout His Word.
Years before Tim was born I read a book whose lessons I use in practice today. I encourage every parent to read and apply the lessons from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. There are many but the basics are:
- With effective habits, you can have great influence on the things that are important to you.
- Know your roles in life. My most important role is to be a Child of God (this is easy for Christians).
- Don’t live your life from crisis to crisis. Plan your days to accomplish your goals in life.
- Don’t waste time, ever. Recreation and rest when you’ve worked hard to accomplish your day’s work to achieve your goal is one thing. Loafing, and having done nothing to achieve your dream each day invites disaster and heartache to you and others.
How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man. Proverbs 6:9-11
As to numbers three and four, in my 25 years in community corrections, I can say with absolute certainty that the thousands of people I and my staff have supervised have these two things most in common. If you’re a parent, Christian or not, or a prospective parent, Christian or not, don’t let these things happen. This is my prayer for all of you.
As with me and my happy little family, may God bless you all mightily!