I went to a local book sale yesterday. It was in an old high school gymnasium and there were rows and rows of folding tables covered with all kinds of books, all for $2 or less. I went SLOWLY up and down every aisle not wanting to miss a potential treasure. The stack of books I walked away with made me laugh. There is no rhyme or reason to the things that caught my attention, but I suppose that is also just part of who I am. I like a multitude of authors,a plethora of genres, a variety of musicians, and don't even try to pin me down on what my favorite color or animal is!! How can one get tied down to just one of ANYTHING?!? ... other than a spouse, of course. :)
One of the books that caught my attention was, Faith of Our Fathers, by John McCain. I brought it home (for 50 cents, no less), and started reading it last night. In the prologue, are the following quotes:
“Our family lived on the move, rooted not in a location, but in the culture of the Navy. I learned from my mother not just to take the constant disruptions in stride, but to welcome them as elements of an interesting life.”
“First made a migrant by the demands of my father’s career, in time I became self-moving, a rover by choice. In such a life, some fine things are left behind, and missed. But bad times are left behind as well. You move on, remembering the good, while the bad grows obscure in the distance.”
I had to pause after reading this section and think about the influence that John McCain's mother had on his life. The book itself, is not about her. It is about his father and his grandfather, who were both Four Star Admirals, and about McCain's own life and how he tried to live up to his impressive military heritage. Even so, his mention of this gift of perspective from his mother in the prologue speaks volumes to me about the impact we can have in shaping our children's view of the context of their lives. His father and grandfather gave him an example to strive toward and his mother gave him a proper perspective of the challenges of his military upbringing. These influences came together, by God's grace, to make John McCain into a man who, later in life as a prisoner of war, had the fortitude to refuse a dishonorable early release by his captors based on his family legacy and endure five years of torture and solitary confinement.
As parents, it is our responsibility to give our children an example to follow and an attitude to embrace. Children don't get to choose the family or the circumstances that they are born into, but they do get to choose their attitude. There were many times in John McCain's life when he resented the pressure of being the son and grandson of Navy Admirals. His mother could have commiserated with him... she, no doubt, suffered greatly as the wife of a man who was away more than he was home and who was constantly in harms way. But she didn't. She taught him that his life was "interesting," not bad, "interesting." Over time, this birthed in him an ability to see his circumstances as temporal and his chosen attitude as permanent.
As a little girl, my parents moved our family from Florida to Arizona. We moved away from every family member and friend we knew. We moved from a lovely, brick ranch home on acreage with a pond in the backyard and horses across the street to an aluminum mobile home in a trailer park in the desert. You might think that as a child, I was devastated by the change. I was not. It was an adventure! It was an adventure because my mother and father made it an adventure. I vividly remember my mother telling me about the "chandelier" hanging in the dining room of our new home in Arizona. (It was really a simple hanging light fixture, but because of my mother's excitement and description, it was a chandelier to all of us, and we couldn't wait to get to Arizona to see it.) I remember as we drove across the county line in Arizona, as we crested a hill and the town we would be living in came into view, my father said with great pride, "Look! The promised land!" It was lovely, but it was a different kind of lovely than we had ever seen before... desert instead of forests, wide open spaces, sand and bright red rock formations instead of grass and lush greenery, a man-made lake instead of the Gulf of Mexico. In that moment, and for the rest of my childhood, however, there would be no comparing it to what we had known before, it was only "the promised land."
As an adult I have moved many times and seen much of the country and I am grateful to my parents who gave me an example to live up to and an attitude to embrace, and now it is mine to pass on to my son.
Proverbs 22:6 KJV "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."
Carla Ritz. Proof positive that God uses cracked pots!