Not In My Footsteps
by Randy Chambers, 2004-09-01
School was my least favorite subject. Outside of art class, I dont remember
having interest in much else having to do with school. That lack of interest is something
that was all too well reflected in my grades. My parents tried everything they could think
of to motivate me to improve. Probably the most memorable was the grounding to the
backyard for an entire summer. But I persevered, I bucked the system, I overcame the odds,
and I showed them alland I went an extra year to high school. Ironic how someone who
detests school is often awarded with more school.
For my parents, the day could not have arrived too soon. With cap and gown in hand, I was
one day closer to actually putting high school behind me. The pain, the misery, and the
struggle were nearly over. That was goodmy poor parents had suffered enough.
Oh the suffering that parents do,
when trying to tame a growing shrew!
Would I wish for a day where the ignorant bliss of childhood would return? Certainly not.
Would I have wished for a day when my
parents suffering was something I could
identify with? Never. But wait, look behind me. What is that I see? Its my son. He
seems to be trying to put his feet into my footsteps. A surge of painful premonition
overwhelms me. Not in my footsteps!
Oh God! If only he would follow Your path and not mine. Just look at the trail
Ive left behind! Oh please dear Godnot in my footsteps.
My sons school career seemed like a repeat of my own. My son offered one excuse
after another with all sincerity. Poor, poor child; he didnt know he had homework,
the homework was too hard, the teachers were unfair
And yet, daily we would ask him
if he had homework, and everyday he would say he didnt. It amazes me how he pulled
it offyou knowgetting all the classes where the teachers didnt assign
any homework. My daughter wasnt so lucky. She has brought homework home nearly every
day she has been in school. Must be that her teachers were even meaner than my sons
Fortunately, my son graduated on time. But it came down to the wire and had us wondering
whether the invitations should go out or not.
I guess some of us are just not ready for school until we are, say, thirty or so.
Thats how old I was before going back. School is a totally different experience when
you are motivated, interested, and there because you want to be. My learning tank had
plenty of room in it, so during my four years of college, I soaked in everything I could.
Graduation came on time. I graduated Cum Laude and my parents were there to see it. Their
years of suffering had paid off. I remember the warm thoughts they shared after
graduation. We knew you had it in you. We knew you were smart enough. You just never
applied yourself. They knew indeed. And it may very well be that one day I will know
even as they know. And I will be able to say something similar to my own sonsay, in
twenty or thirty years, or so.
The footsteps I have left behind are sometimes something of a jumbled mess. They move left
and right, sometimes in circles, and sometimes right off the path. Not the best trail for
my children to look to for an example. But the trail of footsteps that lay in front of
menow that is something to see. The footsteps are perfectly paced and run a straight
and definite course. I must at times seem like a young, clumsy fawn learning to walk as I
try to step into the footsteps of Christ. But Ive learned that as I keep my eyes on
Him, Ill more frequently find my feet following Hisdown this lifes aisle
to my final graduation.
If there is one example of mine I would hope my children would follow, it would be to do
their best to follow the path of Jesus. While on this path I walk, I may at some point
find myself stopping to turn around and look into the eyes of my children. And in that
moment to gently and lovingly remind, Not in my footstepsbut in the footsteps
of the One you see me try to follow.