Southern Dad

Father’s Day. They don’t ask for much, our dads. They want to see us happy. That’s about it, along with being quiet during the game.
My dad has been quietly teaching a lesson taught to him by his father: work hard. I didn’t understand it at first. I used to say he was a workaholic, but over the years I’ve paid attention to his work. It’s not that he works hard during the week and sleeps through the weekend. My dad works hard at everything.
He has never looked at me while working and said, “Pay attention, son. This is how you’re supposed to live your life.” The message, however, comes through.
Whether it’s seeing patients (my dad is a Family Nurse Practitioner, who now travels around to work at different pain clinics in Tennessee and Virginia), working on the farm or in the garden, or raising a good family, my dad works his hardest to achieve the goal. I hope I can be that kind of man, just like Granddaddy is, just like Poppa is, and like my great-grandfathers before.
Being a good man doesn’t come easy. You don’t just wake up “good” in this world. You have to work for it. Sometimes, you have to work hard. You sweat, bleed, and sometimes shed a few tears, but you don’t stop working til the job is finished. Like the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:27, “I beat my body and make it my slave, so that….I will not be disqualified from the prize.”
I’m nowhere near being the kind of man that is exhibited in my family, but I’m trying to be. I’m working hard to be that man. I’m pressing hard toward the goal. With God’s help, I will succeed. I will run and not grow weary. I will walk and not faint. And one day, my child will see the legacy of hard work that I’m passing down which was given to me by my father.
So love on your dads today. I’m gonna do the same. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
Peace. Love. Roll Tide.

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Wise Words from the Coach

ImageAs a teacher of high school seniors, this is the kind of wisdom I tried to pass on to my students. I wish I had this exact quote while teaching because it is so true. We would have discussion days with four topics that dealt with the next era in British literature that we were covering. The debates were fun, but I hope my students listened to the words I said. Now, as a public school teacher, I would’ve gotten in trouble with this quote because of Coach Bryant stressing a “relationship with God,” but it would’ve been worth it. Young people, and I’m not even sure I’m old enough to say “young people”, success isn’t handed to you. Hard work will EVENTUALLY bring success along with planning, dedication, determination, being kind and helpful to others, a little luck, and God’s love. Success isn’t measured in how much money you have. It’s achieving a goal, and moving on to the next goal. Good luck and God bless!
Peace. Love. Roll Tide.

Southern Mornings

I grew up on my grandparents’ farm in Possum Town, TN. Don’t try looking it up. It’s unincorporated, unfortunately. Anyway, my parents built a house across the field from my grandparents right before my sister was born. I was almost three when we moved in.

I used to spend the night at Goggin and Granddaddy’s house. Yes, my grandmother was called Goggin. Don’t be too jealous that you didn’t come up with it. I’ve always been something of an early riser. One of my favorite things was to sit with Goggin and Granddaddy on their front porch swing and watch the sun come up.

Sometimes in the fall, there would be a mist on the field, and you’d see cattle stirring in it. Sometimes you’d see deer running. As a kid, I used to try and copy the birds’ songs: the dove, bobwhite, and whippoorwill.

There was a peace and tranquility in those mornings that I haven’t been able to find now that I live in the city. My wife has always lived in the city, so she doesn’t completely understand what I mean because she doesn’t know what she’s missing. When I wake up now, all I see are big fences and other houses. No deer in my neighborhood. We have some doves though. I like hearing their call.

Now I think the prettiest bird is the red-winged blackbird. You’ll only find them down South in God’s country. Their name is appropriate: they are black birds, but their wings are a reddish-orange with a yellow line beneath to separate color from darkness.

I’ve always loved those birds. I felt they symbolized good people, who add a bit of color to an otherwise dark day. I try to be one of those people. Sometimes I succeed, but sometimes I don’t. I think God understands. He knows we’re going to mess up, but He wants us to keep trying.

When I feel that I just can’t do it, I remember those mornings with the sunrise and the mist. I remember the hope of a new day. I remember the red-winged blackbirds, and I try to be like them.

Peace. Love. Roll Tide.

Aside

Southern Beginnings

Where to start? The beginning is as good a place as any. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a simple man, one of whom Lynard Skynard would be proud. A Southern man, you could definitely call me. I still say grace and “yes ma’am” and “no sir”. I love SEC football, Jesus, America, and good music.

Now, when I say good music, I don’t want you to get confused with what the radio says is good music. There’s not a lot of good music being put out these days. I feel like I should have grown up in the late 60’s and 70’s. Some of the best songs and bands in the history of music had their heyday during that time: Led Zeppelin, the aforementioned Skynard, The Eagles, and Queen (even though they’re British). Why did everything have to change? Where did we go wrong? I guess there were a few too many free spirits during that time who grew up to raise punk kids, who grew up to birth kids and then not spend any time raising them.

I’m not blaming every parent of that era. My parents grew up during that time period, and they raised an amazing child, as well as my sister (just kidding, Blair!). But in all seriousness, parents stopped being parents and started trying to be friends to their kids. “How does that turn out?”, one might ask. I’ll tell you how.

I taught in the public school system for the past four years. I’ve seen firsthand this current generation of young people. I, as a teacher, was expected to teach them manners, right from wrong, morals, and, somewhere in spare minutes, grammar, reading, and writing. The young people, in general, are rude and disrespectful. They hate to be corrected because they think they know it all. They don’t understand that adults could possibly want to help them become better people.

I remember being their age. I remember thinking my parents were so mean to me, so unfair. I remember saying, “I’ll never treat my kids that way.” Now I’m married and will start a family soon, and when I do, I hope I treat my children EXACTLY the way my parents treated me. Teenagers, when your parents bug you about where you’re going and who you’ll be with and what you’ll be doing, it’s because they care. They made mistakes when they were your age, and they don’t want you to repeat them. LISTEN TO THEM!! Parents, when your children act differently or tell you they have problems, they are reaching out for help. LISTEN TO THEM!!

I want my children to be productive members of society who respect others and have good character. I can’t stand parents who won’t spank their kids. “It’s abusive!” No, it isn’t, if it’s done for correction instead of anger. My parents spanked me when I was a kid, and do you know what mental illness I contracted? Respect, both for myself and for others.

If you enjoyed this rant, let me know. There will be others, though hopefully more subdued. If you did not enjoy this rant, let me know. I’m grown up enough to take criticism. I welcome the assistance; however, let’s try and keep the comments positive. Name calling doesn’t help anyone.

I love y’all. Even those of you I’ve never met nor will ever meet, I love y’all.

Peace. Love. Roll Tide.