I think our granddaughter was about nine years old when she came home from school and said, "Mommy, Daddy, my favorite holiday, I know what it is. It's Thanksgiving." And they asked her why that is. Well, her daddy is our son and her mommy is Native American, so she came in with a unique perspective on Turkey Day. She said, "I love Thanksgiving because I'm a Pilgrim and an Indian!"
You've probably been speeding down the highway as I have at times, and all of a sudden you'll come to a construction area that says, "Slow down - 35 mph." So everyone, of course, slows down by two or three miles an hour. They're down to 57 now or something like that. And then you'll see as you get a little more into the construction area these words, "Be prepared to stop." Well, I don't want to be prepared to stop. I don't know if you're like me, but I calculate how many miles I've got to go, how long it's going to take. Let's see, "Sixty miles - sixty minutes." Something like that. I don't want to be prepared to stop. I'm prepared to do the speed limit. Sometimes we live our whole lives that way. We're speeding too fast to stop.
As most children learn, there's an art to getting what you want from a parent. And most kids should get honorary degrees in psychology for how skilled they become at doing it. Our children sure did. One approach from the playbook of the three little Hutchcrafts could be called the "United Front Maneuver." One time they pulled out this tactic was when they wanted to get pizza for dinner or to go to a certain clown's hamburger joint. Often our oldest would first dispatch the youngest to approach me with a dining proposal. You know, always use the youngest as the sacrificial lamb. Right! Well, if that didn't work, send in number two child. If two out of three couldn't turn my heart to their cause, then the oldest would join in. And I have to confess, there were some times when I was able to say no to one of my children, or even two, but something happened to my heart when they all came together.
Motivation - that's the art of getting a person to do something. We're all in the motivating business. You may be motivating people to go somewhere, or to do a job, to correct a weakness in their life, to change their ways, to finish what they start, to do what you want them to do. Motivation comes in a lot of forms. You can inspire people to do it. You can threaten them if they don't do it. You can love them into doing it; put an arm around them and say, "Come on, Buddy." You can help them do it. You could pitch in and show them how and be willing to do your part.
Columnist Bob Greene told a story that touched my heart. It's about a newspaperman in a small Midwestern town and the call he got from a school teacher. She wanted to tell him about something that had happened to a child on the playground. He was braced for bad news. Well, it wasn't. During a lunch break, most of the 8th graders were gathered in groups, talking and playing. This one boy - a student who actually suffered from severe physical disabilities and was new to the school - was off by himself as usual. He was, like, painfully shy.
When our Native American outreach team went to Alaska, our only means of getting to remote Eskimo villages was by missionary aircraft. Man, those pilots - they were the best! I mean, many days we had to fly through low cloud ceilings and low visibility. On a day like that, our pilots were checking every hour on the weather at our end and at our destination. There was finally a break where we could fly, but it all looked pretty dismal when we took off. The pilot of the plane that I was in was instrument-rated, which actually enabled him to go to a higher altitude. The pilot of the plane accompanying us wasn't able to take the high road. No, my pilot kept in radio contact with the other pilot. Believe me, our planeload and the other planeload were seeing two totally different views. From where the other plane was flying - lower - it was dark, it was dismal, and it was really overcast. But we were above all that. We were enjoying this beautiful, sunny day with all those clouds beneath us.
I used to really take heart when I saw my son poring over the newspaper, until I looked over his shoulder. He didn't care much about the news, but he was devouring the baseball statistics. Later, I'd see him poring over a magazine with almost no pictures in it, just names and numbers. It was the latest monthly magazine with the value on every baseball card imaginable. Our son got excited when certain players pitched a great game or got some of the runs batted in, or you know, they were tracking for an MVP award even if they played for a team he'd never root for. Now, what's going on here? Well if you've ever been, or if you've ever known a serious baseball card collector, you know that he had invested a lot of money in certain player cards and when they did well, he did well in the value of those cards. Like many investors, his interests followed his investments.
I had a funny conversation with the owner of a local restaurant one day. The restaurant was close to our office, so I was there pretty frequently. I usually ran in and grabbed the quickest thing I could and ran out. Well, I was at the cash register and there were two or three others waiting to pay when Tony, the owner, said, "What do you do anyway?" Well, I wanted an opportunity there, and I thought this might be the first chance I had to really let him know that I know Christ.
It was a great day for me when I went bowling and found out that they had invented automatic score keeping. I never could figure it out, especially on the more complicated stuff, when you just had to add it up on these cards. We never went bowling often, but when we did, we used to fumble around trying to figure out how to score the game. There are some folks who'll say, "Let's just have fun in this (whatever the sport is). Forget about the score!" We are not among those folks. No, in fact, no matter what the sport, most athletes would not be interested if no points were kept for goals, or runs, or touchdowns, or whatever. But I have to wonder if the people who just enjoy the game without keeping score have a little less stress in their lives.
Winter came early to the mountains where we were spending our summer vacation. Of course, that's to be expected if we're on vacation; in the summer, it's probably going to get to be winter. But one night the temperature actually dropped into the 30s and no one was prepared for that. We're in this little cabin, and all of us... suddenly we're snuggling under this warm, Hudson Bay blanket. Therefore, we actually didn't have any awareness of how cold it was outside, because, well, we were warm.
Well, I ventured out of bed first that morning, and I very quickly discovered that we were in a very cold situation. So I wrapped up in everything I could find and I knew what I had to do. I had to get to the only source of heat in that cabin, which was the wood stove, and I had to get a fire going as fast as possible - pioneer Ron. Right! You know if you're warm where you are, it's pretty easy to forget how cold it is all around you.