A couple weeks ago I left school at about 4 pm, in the rain, in a hurry. I got about 100 feet from the parking lot and realized a big problem had developed with the car. The right front tire had gone flat. I mean, flat-to-the-rim flat. I limped onto a side street and began changing the tire. Very soon thereafter a parent from school and her two older sons stopped and just took over the tire changing job. Did I mention that it was raining? I was appreciative beyond words. It was also humbling to be the recipient of a gift of help when (1) I didn't expect it and (2) there was no expectation of a reward. Well, there was a reward because I sent them one as an expression of my thanks.
More rewards came from this incident. Of course, I was helped, which shortened the time I was delayed. A family got to practice tire changing, a necessary skill for anyone in a vehicle. And a mother taught her two sons the benefit of helping others who are in need. This latter gift was probably the most important outcome of all. Children listen to your words but they also watch your actions. And later in life they will copy what you do, good or bad, whether you like it or not.
The copying of parental behavior was the subject of the sermon at our church this last Sunday, because you see, it is a Biblical principle. Kathy and I have five children, all now with their own children. We reflect on how well we have practiced these principles of providing discipline and setting examples. We've failed sometimes, but overall, the results have been successful. Oh sure, we could cherry pick one issue and another, but in the big scheme of things all our kids have turned out pretty well and we are proud of their accomplishments.
As the school year winds down, more and more kids will be out and about for various activities including dances, proms, shortened school days with final exams, and, of course, graduations. Watch for these young drivers. And if you see one stranded with vehicle problems, stop to help if you can, especially if it's raining!
Gene Canavan is a retired West Point Graduate and Paper Mill Utilities Manager and lives in Prattville, Alabama, USA.