When I was 12 years old (1969), I experienced two events that changed the course of my life: I got my own paper route, and my mom drove me to the bank and opened a checking account in my name. The reason she opened the account was because she didn’t want the job of writing a check every week to the company that owned the newspaper, the Peoria Journal Star. When we got home from the bank, she taught me how to write checks. When the first bank statement arrived in the mail, she taught me how to reconcile the account.
When I was growing up during the 1960s and 1970s, there was one TV in my parents’ home, and there were only three television stations to choose from. The stations were affiliated with the three national networks — ABC, NBC, and CBS. The programming for each of the stations ran from 6:00 AM in the morning until 1:00 AM the following morning. After the last TV program ended at 1:00 AM, there was usually an instrumental patriotic song that was played and then the images on the station were replaced with several thick, horizontal, colored lines that appeared while an annoying audio tone played in the background.
Last week, I wrote about how we spend a good part of our lives in sorrow because of suffering that is, in most cases, unavoidable. I provided a short but specific definition of the word “suffer,” which is, “to undergo or feel pain or distress.” I then provided the definition of “sorrow,” which is “a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others.”
During the early 1980s, I read an article about a woman from the Soviet Union who had visited Washington, D.C. The woman was the wife of a top official in the Communist Government of the Soviet Union. While she was in Washington, D.C., the woman and some of her female friends from the Soviet Union were given a tour of several buildings and monuments. When they toured the Capitol Building, she said, “Ours is better.” When she saw the Washington Monument, she said, “Ours is better.” She made the same comment when she saw the Lincoln Memorial, the National Cathedral, and several other landmarks in Washington, D.C.
About 15 years ago, I hired a woman — I’ll call her “Jill” — whose primary job was to assist me with marketing my law firm. One of her duties was to talk on the phone with new potential clients, discuss their situation with them, and if appropriate, schedule an appointment for me to meet with them. Jill was blessed with several gifts. She was outgoing, energetic, enthusiastic, a great conversationalist, and was good at building relationships. She had previously worked as a sales representative and was also a Mary Kay Cosmetics representative who was accustomed to selling to other women.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of willingly choosing to accept less freedom in order to become something greater than what we already are. When we choose to consistently give up certain freedoms, we become much more responsible, and we are eventually able to achieve more than we would have ever thought was possible. This is a critical concept that must be understood and practiced by those of us who are serious about becoming what God intended us to be.
If you’re like me, you can probably only name a few of your teachers and coaches from grade school and high school who had a significant impact on your life. That’s not very many people considering the fact that you spent 12 years in school and only a handful of teachers and coaches made a dramatic difference in your life.