It is hard to imagine that 18 years ago I was finishing up my 1st semester of college. In fact, I don’t like to think that I am actually that old. As I have been studying with a young man preparing to go off to college I can’t help but to think how helpful it would have been to talk to a person that walked the path that I desire to take. I love my father. I wouldn’t want another man to in that role. He did the best he could with what he had and sacrificed more than I could possibly imagine. However, he and I walked different paths. His path, when he was a young man, was not one looking to build a relationship with God. Mine on the other hand was. His path was not about finding a woman that would help him get to heaven. Mine on the other hand was. His path was not about finding a career that would put him in the best position to have God call him a success. (Albeit, he wanted to be called a success by his peers). I on the other hand was more concerned with what God would want call a successful life and not so much about what my peers thought. (my peers didn’t like my anyways and I doubted that would ever change). Since I didn’t have a person that would give me that type of advice I felt I needed, I thought I would share my thoughts on this format. Perhaps you are raising your own kids, perhaps you yourself are looking into college, or maybe you know someone who is. Whatever it may be, this is what I wished someone would have told me.
While there may be lots of fish in the sea, the best fishermen go to where the fish are. I remember being told that I shouldn’t be so set on trying to marry just one woman. That is, if that first girl didn’t work out, don’t worry about it, there were lots of fish in the sea. That’s true. There were. However, a lot of those fish aren’t worth catching. If you are wanting to fish for bass, you don’t fish on the bottom. If you want a good wife, don’t go looking along the bottom feeders. As a young man I needed someone to remind me that a needed to go looking in the right places. For me, that meant Florida College. It had the largest collection of Christian girls that I knew. I did find my wife there. But, it would have saved me years of heartache had someone told me to save my fishing for when the fishing was good.
What’s best for me, may not be best for me right now. We live in a world of instant gratification. We assume the quicker the better. In fact, one of the reasons why I keep telling my wife we need a new computer is that our old one is not quick enough. The ones at the local library run circles around ours. When we take this idea of instant gratification to our career paths, family paths, college choices, etc we are setting ourselves up for failure. I went to college in Florida. I grew up in Illinois. I still remember the longest conversation with my father that last summer I was at home consisted of about 5 words. We didn’t talk much. He was not happy that I was leaving the state to go to college. In some ways I wasn’t either. I loved my parents, I really did and do. But I knew that staying was not the best thing for me in the long run. I needed to get away. Sometimes that what young people need to do. They need to realize that while it may be harder, it is often better. I put myself in a position to succeed in the long run. It was at Florida College I met my wife. It was at Florida College I finally broke out of my shell. It was at Florida College I find my life plan; to preach the gospel. I know had I stayed in Illinois. I wouldn’t have married who I did. I wouldn’t have broken out of my shell. (I was in my comfort place and was comfortable not growing) And I know for certain that I would be preaching right now.
What’s best for my family is not always what’s best for me. My father wanted me to be a hog farmer. His dream was that I and my brother worked the farm together. I have no doubts that between the three of us we would have made that farm exceptionally successful. (My dad alone did a remarkable job). My father later told me how much my mother cried after I left. I didn’t realize the impact my actions had upon them until I got older. And as my children grow up, I will learn that all the more. However, I couldn’t let that keep me from doing what is best for me. I know the bible teaches me to honor my mother and father. However, it also teaches me that eventually I have to become my own person. Whenever a person chooses a college, a profession, a spouse, they need to remember that while mom and dad are important, each person must choose what is best for them.