When I was a boy we lived in Ohio and I was a Cincinnati Reds fan. A family in the church treated us to a Reds game at Riverfront Stadium on the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was an unusual treat for all of us. My sister Melony would have been in High School. I was in Jr. High. That means my brother Kevin must have been about seven.
At the game our host bought us all some peanuts in the shell. Soon there was laughter from down the row. We looked down to see Kevin, my seven-year-old brother eating the peanuts—without shelling them. He had never had them before and he didn’t notice that other we removing them from the shell before eating them. We all had a good laugh at his expense and taught him how to shell the peanuts before he ate them.
When we returned home we told the story to Dad. He reaction was different then ours. He began to cry. “I’ve never taken my son to a baseball game. I’ve never bought him peanuts in the shell. He didn’t even know how to eat them.” For some reason Dad felt he had neglected his training.
The other day Hope and I were with friends at Comerica Park enjoying a Detroit Tigers game. I was explaining the game of baseball to her and I got to thinking about all the things my Dad taught my brothers and my sister and I while he was neglecting teaching us how to eat peanuts-in-the-shell.
He taught us to work hard
He taught us to be honest
He taught us to tell the truth
He taught us to rise early and deliver papers, rain, shine, cold or heat
He taught us to take initiative to shovel walks and mow laws and sell things door-to-door.
He taught us to be tenderhearted with others
He taught us to notice the needs of others around us
He taught us the books of the Bible
He taught us memorize Scripture
He taught us theology
He taught us to throw and catch baseball
He taught us to play football in the back yard with the family
He taught us patriotism
He taught us educate and civility
He taught us respect for the flag and the love of our country
He taught us to change tires and change oil
He taught us to tie a tie and lead singing and explain the gospel.
He taught us to be a gentleman
He taught us to treat older people with dignity and younger people with patience and interest.
He taught us to mow the lawn and clean the garage
He taught us to talk and live clean
I could go on for pages simply listing the things that Dad was there to teach us, but somehow he neglected to teach my little brother how to eat peanuts in the shell.
July 4, 2014