Saturday, June 15, 2013

a man of value

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value." ~Albert Einstein

One of the definitions of success is, "the gaining of fame or prosperity." Value has a lot of definitions, but there are 2 that stand out to me:
1~ "utility or merit"
2~ "a principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable"

The world, it seems, holds success high above value. Too often people--and probably men especially--are judged on how famous they are or how much money they have managed to accumulate. By those standards, Pop wouldn't rate very highly. His name isn't known around the world; there aren't thousands of people who would recognize his picture. His bank account has never been one of those at risk o not being covered by the FDIC--the paycheck flows back out to pay the bills pretty quickly. By the world's standards, he probably wouldn't be considered a success.

But a man of value? That's a very different story.

The first definition of "value" was "utility." That, in turn, is defined as being "designed for use." And if that definition can be applied to anyone, it's Pop. He's had quite a few purposes in my lifetime, and he was designed for each and every one of them.

Pop and Sarh--father and daughter,
coach and athlete
 As a coach, he had the ability to push people to do their best. He was hard on the girls who played basketball for him, but judging by the former players who have asked him to perform a wedding or who have brought their kids to meet him, his players thought the world of him and wanted to play for him.

As a pastor, he can step on toes when needed and offer a pat on the back when deserved, even if nobody else notices. He preaches on everything from "Flying in the Chicken Coop" to "Granny's Chocolate Pie," making even obscure biblical truths easy to understand. He lives his faith and isn't too proud to hold up his own weaknesses as examples. He can carry on a deep conversation about God with either a 4 year old or a scholar, knowing he has something to teach to and to learn from each one. He doesn't avoid the hard questions by throwing out something like, "God works in mysterious ways."
picture by Sarah :0)

As a farmer, he wakes before the sun. His hands and arms are strong enough to drive fence posts and string barbed wire, yet gentle enough to scoop up a baby chick out of the mess of a leak in the chicken house. When something goes wrong, he can figure out a way to make it work just long enough, even when he only seems to have MacGyver-type supplies. He can shrug off banged up hands, even when they're bleeding, and say it was nothing. He worlds long hours all year long, in the dog-days of summer and the dead of winter, and most of the time those hours don't start until he finishes his school bus route. He hauls hay and bottle feeds orphaned calves and picks up dead chickens without complaint.

As a teacher, he shows kids every day that they are capable of so much more than they thought. He teaches math, a subject most say they either don't like or can't understand. He's given some students their first A in math and others their only B of their high school career because he believes in pushing all of them. Though he doesn't coach anymore, a lot of his kids still call him "Coach Goins." He holds his students to a higher standard, and they rise to the challenge because they know he believes in them. His methods are a bit unconventional, but they work amazingly. He's talked a time or two about not teaching anymore, but there's always some student who needs him, some kid he wants to see make it through, and he stays.

He has other roles, other uses he is designed for like Popeye (named by his granddaughter), husband, son, and brother. If you ask me, though, above all else he was designed to be Pop. In the midst of all the rest of his responsibilities, he took the time to support all three of us kids. He taught (and teaches) us the importance of God, family, and hard work. He supports us and pushes us, telling us we are made for great things and that God has big plans for us. He was quick to correct us when we needed it, but he has always understood that sometimes we learn best from mistakes.

I've been told I think like Pop, that we operate on the same wavelength. There must be some truth to that since I'm one of the only ones who can work cows with him, but otherwise I can only hope it's true. What I know, though, is that I'm proud to be called his daughter.

Love you, Popa!

  "Righteousness guards the man of integrity..." Proverbs 13:6a

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