Have the facts

Our family was pretty much like any other family. We had our ups and downs. We had our good times and bad. Some days were rougher than others. I’ve come to find out that my kids struggled with being preacher’s kids. I really didn’t know that until recently. My youngest is in his late thirties now and thriving at his position with Children’s Lantern, a foundation that we started to help children.

He was always an energetic kid with a big personality. He was Homecoming King and the captain of the football team. He was generally a good kid, but we had our run-ins.

One day I had to correct him and to be honest I don’t remember what it was about but the conclusion was that he go to his room and stay on his bed. He was probably about ten years old. My objective was to go in and talk to him in a half an hour or so to make sure he understood what I wanted to teach him.

I worked around the house for a while, inside and out just doing regular house maintenance things passing the time. I heard a knock at the door and answered it. It was a man who lived in our town whom I had known almost my whole life. I went to high school with him. I wasn’t close to him but I knew him well enough to speak with him whenever I saw him at school functions or the carryout. So I stepped out on the front porch.

He seemed a little steamed as he launched into why he was there. He said that my son had just rode his bicycle in front of him almost causing him to hit him with his pick-up and swerve off the road. I asked a few questions to confirm that it was my son. He gave a description and it sounded like it was him. He was supposed to be on his bed in his room.

So now I’m really starting to steam. I told my wife what had happened as she stepped outside. He not only had already been punished with going to his room but now he disobeyed me and was out of his room riding his bike. I jumped in my van and went looking for him. I drove through town and around the school. I went to his friends houses who lived in our little town looking for his bicycle. I went to the door at one friends house and asked if they had seen him. He was nowhere to be found.

At this point, I started to get a little worried so I backtracked thinking that I might have missed something. I got angrier and angrier. I finally had no choice but to go back home. My wife tried to calm me down as I walked through the front door. I said he knows better than this! I was in the middle of my rant when I heard a noise coming from his room.

I walked in and he was on his bed, his bicycle in the garage. He was there all the time. The man that stopped had seen a kid that looked similar to him and assumed that it was my son. I said to him, “Have you left your bedroom?” He said “No, you told me to stay here till you came in.” I felt really stupid. I was ready to ground him until the age of fifty and make him eat bread and water for the rest of his life.

How many times have you operated on false information? Someone tells you something about a book, a movie or a person and you base your attitude on that information. I know people who have preached messages or written reviews about the evils of a book and they haven’t read it. I myself have formed attitudes about a person that someone has talked to me about in a negative way only to meet that person and find out that they are nothing like the preconceived idea that was planted in my head.

Movies are the same way. There are movies that I have read where a reviewer trashed it but I, after watching it I thought it was great. I read a review years back that condemned Star Wars to the abyss but after I saw it I of course came to the conclusion that the reviewer didn’t know what he was talking about.

The man that stopped at my house wasn’t bad, he was just trying to help. I wish I would have just walked into my sons room and saw for myself if he was in there. I wish I would have sought the facts before going off the deep end.

I think too many times we don’t really do any research or simply get a second opinion. We take someone’s word for something without actually reading the book ourselves and making our own conclusions.

Make sure you have the facts.

Tim Tracy

Cabin Fever Coffee Shop, 312 Clinton Street, Defiance, OH, 43512