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To My Son (at Graduation) May 24, 2006

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Family, Friends, Humor, Language, Love, Morality, Parenting/Children, Self-Worth.

Hopefully, none of the things we want to say to you this morning will be new. We hope you’ve heard them all before, from us, many times. Even so, this is a good opportunity for us to repeat these things.

When we look at you, we see what the world sees, but we see much more. We see the complex interaction of the man we’ve taught you to be, combined with the man you’ve decided to become. The result is a fabulous “witches brew” (without the witchcraft) that combines many interesting and fascinating things.

For example, it’s no doubt that the world can see the size of your feet, as they have been a conversation piece from the moment you arrived (someone in the hospital commented on your feet just hours after you were born). Your shoe size (17) has led to any number of jokes, and probably a bit of ridicule. In spite of this, you’ve learned to not just accept this physical characteristic, but to relish the potential for humor.

What the world can’t see is the size of your heart, which is just as notable. From the days of t-ball where you didn’t want to tag a little boy out who had fallen on his way to the base (in your words, “it didn’t seem fair”), to watching you spend a Spring Break at the side of your best friend as he lay, paralyzed, in a hospital. The size of your heart has been a source of pride and conversation, but your Mom and I are the ones that speak about it instead of you.

Similarly, the world can easily see your sense of humor. There is no question that many of your teachers would have preferred to see less of it, but you have always managed to balance the “class clown” act carefully enough to not cross the invisible line into serious annoyance.

I wonder how these same teachers would react to seeing you the night my Mom died, when at 12 years of age, you immediately accepted the responsibility of watching over my Dad, even as you quietly said goodbye to your “Mammaw.” Would it have surprised those same teachers to hear you playing “Amazing Grace” on your guitar at Dad’s funeral several years later?

Your life has become a point of convergence for music, comedy, honesty, sportsmanship, competitiveness, love, and righteous indignation. You live at the nexus of apparent contradictions: juxtaposing skill with words and skill in athletics, thoughtful observation with instant satire, and accepting “what is” without losing sight of “what could be.”

Your Mom and I will miss living in the midst of this world you’ve created, a world where you fascinate and confound, surprise and shock, and manage to put a smile on the face of all who are in this midst. For us, the good news is that now, the rest of the world will be able to enjoy it too.


Mom & Dad


1. Mia - May 24, 2006

You know… I’ve heard small children say “When I grow up I want to be….” and just now reading this post I recall you asking in another post what one of us would want to be when we grow up and what we strive to be on a daily basis. Smiling now with my answer which isn’t at all superficial… “I want to be the kind of parent that bringing honor to my family and communicates love to them.” In life we are surrounded by so many examples, given many opportunities, to see, touch, feel, and with God’s grace make a difference. Today, I want to say Thank You for your living example of what a Father’s love looks like in action. I have noted this before and I truly hope one day you will do more than consider it… Write the book! The book that has the signature of parental love, wisdom, humor, insight, and tender mercies.

Your family is ever blessed… Thank you for sharing this insight into your heart.

In Him,

2. Lady Ingenious - May 24, 2006

Awesome..i enjoyed sharing this moment with you..sending your child off into the world! He will always be your baby (with big feet)!
..Lady Ingenious!

3. litlove - May 29, 2006

What a wonderful message to send. I wish my parents could have given me such a graduation gift. There can be no greater love than that which recognises a child and sets it free.

4. timthefoolman - May 29, 2006

Thank you to all. I read once that the greatest gift a parent can give is the “parental blessing,” which is a convoluted way of saying that I’m going to allow my child to be the person they choose to be. In my case, that’s been easy, because my sons have both made wonderful choices, and even when they didn’t do what I wanted, they made choices that were mature, and good for them. – Tim

5. Marie (The other sister) - October 28, 2006

Read this to “the Code man” tonight. He wondered aloud if Tyler and Spence know how special they are to you. I told him… They know. Of course, they know. Thanks, as always, for sharing!

6. icedmocha - March 10, 2007

Your son sounds like a wonderful young man with all the right qualities to get him through life, and a loving mother and father who have nurtured him well. A nice tribute.

7. laurie - June 10, 2007

I recently wrote a dedication to my son who will graduate June 11th and I found yours 🙂 Isnt is awesome to share with the world the love of your child. I hope our examples have taught our children enough so that they will succeed in all aspects of life. I pray that God will lead them and protect them. I thank you for your openness in sharing your feelings too. I hope your child recognizes the love you have for him 🙂

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