1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



We Are Who We Are

There was a moment, when my wife’s niece brought her new son over to our house, when I stared at that child and seriously prayed to God that the boy would grow up to make something of himself. I know that the Lord heard me, but while my prayer is brief in nature and sincere, it only took a few moments. The devil on the other hand has 24/7 to try to tear down any help that my meager prayers can raise up. I will continue to pray for that boy.

We all hope that every baby in the world today will make something of themselves. We all hope that the world we leave the next generation will find it better than we found it when we took over the reins of government and business.

Some of those babies will grow up to be Presidents, Generals, CEOs, CFOs, PHDs and MDs. Some will grow up to be killers and burglars and mercenaries and thugs and insurance salesmen, car salesmen or even worse, politicians.

What makes the difference? Why do two children born of the same parents turn out to be so different? One turns out to be some great mathematician and the other spends his entire adult life trying to beat the odds. One turns out to be a great leader while the other can’t find the door to the house unless he is guided. One turns out to be Amelia Earheart and the other turns out to be Annette “Squeaky” Frome. One turns out to be Pat Garrett the other Billy the Kid.

No mother ever wants that little bundle wrapped in a receiving blanket and smelling of baby talc to turn out to be someone who is either wanted by every law enforcement agency in the world or someone who isn’t wanted by anyone.

We all take a roll at the dice when we propagate the race. We all hope for the best and hope for the child to be renown and honored throughout the land. What do we do when they are not honored? I am sure that one morning the parents of Timothy McVeigh looked down and smiled broadly at their new son. They watched him grow up and become a member of the armed forces and were proud of him when he served, but today his sister has changed her name so she can teach school without everyone asking those horrible questions about her brother. The government will put him to death for being the most vile person of the century.

We are who we are, and ninety percent of us go about living with our little quirks and habits that annoy those around us. We go to work, come home, mow the lawn, wash the car and snore in front of the TV like every good couch potato without ever causing more of a ripple on the sea of life than maybe a traffic ticket for making an illegal turn. It is the other ten percent that makes all the waves and for either good or evil, cause headlines and fortunes that are made everyday. Then there is that five percent that are the movers and shakers of the world. These people lead not only themselves but they lead others. I am not saying that these are all great people, I am stating that they do great things. They are the Bill Gates, George Ws, the Thomas Edisons, the Dan Marinos, the Hitlers, the Ghandees, the popes and yes, the Timothy Mcveighs.

Sometimes we look at out lives and wonder why we never make it to that plateau. Why status and riches eluded us. Why our fifteen minutes of fame only lasted five. If we are willing to sit back and look at our lives from a different prospective, then we might see that we went farther and did a lot more than we thought we did. If you raised your children without spending much time at the police station, then you should consider yourself a success. If you never had to see one of your children go through withdrawals from drugs or alcohol, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. If you did not have to live through one of your children having an abortion, consider yourself one of the beautiful people..........

Some say it takes two perfect people to make a perfect child. Then how do you explain Cain and Abel? Cain’s mother and father were perfectly made, yet the first child out of their loins was a murderer.

OK then, if the you only have a single parent, you are a product of your environment and therefore will grow up to be on the wrong side of the law. Sociologists and psychologists have been trying to sell that baloney to us for years. That won’t fly, because there are too many single parent families who have turned out children for eons and though they may be at odds with society or with the rest of the world, they don’t turn out all that bad, including this writer and many other kids who grew up in and around Alderson.

The secret folks is so simple, yet so complicated that it defies all reasoning. The simple part is that parents should raise their children to be God fearing, law abiding citizens of the community. The complex part comes when it is up to each person to examine themselves and make those choices in life that causes him or her to live the decent life. Some see this at an early age. Some go through a season where they sow wild oats and then settle down to life as normal people. Some never grow up and so they never make grown up decisions. Some determine to do things their own way no matter what the consequences.

I think the Lord lets us become grandparents so we can enjoy children. We never had that luxury when we were parents. We were too busy trying to make a living. Trying to please the boss, our wife, the in-laws and our creditors. We tried in those precious few hours we actually had with our children to work to get them to turn out to be something better than us. As grandparents you truly get to enjoy watching a child grow. Now without all the normal headaches and heartaches all our time spent with our grandchildren is quality time. We devote time and money to see their every need and want is satisfied. We now teach them all the things we wanted to teach our children if we only had the time. We spend the money on them now that was in short supply when we were mortgaged to the hilt. We get to share our life experiences with them that we did not have when we were young. Many people just want to push aside the elderly and go about life with them neatly packed away in that little house or in an elderly apartment house or nursing home. What many people have forgotten about grandparents is, they make great teachers. They teach out of love, devotion and best of all experience. Until 50 years ago this was done down through the centuries and worked very well, that is until we outsmarted ourselves.

Parenting is one of the most important jobs on the planet, yet I have yet to see a book at any store labelled “Parenting for Dummies”.

We are who we are.........and thats all we are.