Everyone who knows me knows that I am crazy about my daughters. I talk about them in the office, I show pictures whenever I get the chance, I brag about them in my sermons. I'm CRAZY proud to be Avery and Sadie's Daddy! Let me tell you why: Avery's school hosted a field day the other day. The teachers assigned the students to the events they were to participate in and Avery was to swim in several events. For a few weeks leading up to field day Avery was stressing about the events. She didn't want to swim. She talked to her teachers about it and was told that they would try to replace her, but to come prepared to swim. The night before Avery was in tears. When the day started, two little girls weren't going to be able to swim on the team. Avery, being the unbelievably mature 10 year old that she is, told the teacher that she would swim because "I know you and the team need me to do it even though I don't really want to."
But that wasn't what made me the proudest. All year long there has been a little boy in Avery's class that is picked on. It's obvious the little boy (we'll just call him 'J') comes from a very difficult home and doesn't really know or understand much about social boundaries. But Avery has befriended him, occasionally sitting by him at lunch. On field day, before the sack race, the kids were told to pair up for the event. One of the other little boys ran over to Avery and asked to be her partner. A few seconds on his heals was 'J.' He said that he was going to ask Avery to be her partner but didn't get there in time. Avery told the other boy, "I know you won't have any trouble finding another partner and no one else will pick 'J,' so I'm going to be 'J's' partner." During the race Avery and 'J' weren't doing well and Avery said it was because 'J' didn't want to go too fast for her and make her fall down (Avery is tiny). Avery told 'J' not to worry about it and to go as fast as he could. Avery's team won first place and she and 'J' were the only ones who didn't fall down!
Now, here's the kicker. Last week one of the teachers took a picture of each kid in the class and asked everyone to sign around the pictures as a keep-sake for each child. Avery's friends wrote all kinds of nice things about her - "Tiny but mighty!" "You're a great friend!" "You're my best friend." Here's what 'J's said:
"Avery, I will never forget you because you were nice to me every day."
I have been a Christian most of my life. I've been a pastor for 15 years. I've been a Daddy for almost 11 years. I have never been more proud in my life and I can say with all honesty, I wish others ... and I ... would be more like Avery. Way to go Little One. I'm not the only Father who's proud of you.