Monday, July 20, 2015

A humble beginning

   I spent the day with our two boys and Julie's father in the heat of a South Georgia summer day going about an important task. Some people would call it playing a round, and they'd be right. Some people would call it crazy, because of the heat, and they'd surely be correct.
   When I was about 14 years old and my brother was 11, our Grandfather Carlton carried us out to a golf course, gathered up some used clubs for us to call our own, and proceeded to begin teaching us about golf. He was a saint. If you've ever helped someone else learn a hobby or take on a new challenge as difficult as hitting a golf ball, you know what a burden of love it is. His son, my uncle, would pick up his love of golf and turn it into a career; my Uncle Wade is a member of the PGA and operates a great golf course down in Brunswick. I would guess that close to half of all the rounds of golf I've played in my life were with my grandfather.
   I was thinking about my grandfather today, who passed away in 2006, when I was driving out to the course and talking through some of the basics of the game with the boys. I bet I uttered 1000 of the same things he said to us probably 100,000 times over the years. It brought back memories. I was humbled to take on the mantle of teaching golf the right way, like I had been taught at the same age.
   I texted my uncle as we got started and sent him a note about what we were doing. We were an hour in when he responded. The heat was getting to us and nerves were getting thin. The boys were getting tired of listening, but also frustrated that it was taking longer to master it than they thought it should. That is when my uncle replied to my text. He said, "Make sure they enjoy themselves. I hope everyone is smiling when you are having ice cream upon finishing." I stopped in my tracks. I was humbled again. His words rang so true. I was losing sight of the main objective of the day: it should not be that the boys would perfectly apply the rules of golf, or that Jack would grip the club right, or that Sam would keep his head still on his backswing. My goal for the day should be that they enjoyed it enough to want to go play again. I changed my tone and changed my focus from that very moment, and it stayed that way through the ice cream I bought for everyone when we were done!
   I think we can lose sight of the main thing sometimes in our lives away from the golf course, too. We get so focused on the people around us doing the right thing that we forget we want people to feel the right way, too. People need to feel like they are loved. There will be time to teach rules and make corrections. But, if they are turned off the first time they meet us, we might never get a second chance. That goes for life, and especially goes for how we treat our families, right?
   May you be ever aware of what the highest goals are each day and may you always know you are loved. Grace and peace, Scott

1 comment:

  1. What a great story about 4 generations of a family I love! There was much to be learned from Carlton--plenty of facts but tons of heart stuff too! And Wade reminding to make it fun! You made me think of my guys; Tom shared that same revelation with me after a frustrating outing to Coastal Pines. And I have a tall left hander now who often says he wishes they'd spent more time doing what his dad loved. Treasure it, my friend, and enjoy that ice cream!