A Tribute to My Son, On His 21st Birthday

Twenty-one years ago today (August 11, 1994), Shelley and I had the wonderful joy of receiving a gift of God in the form of a baby boy.

Randy and Nathan White, 1994

Randy and Nathan White, 1994

We lived in Munday, Texas at the time. The First Baptist Church of Munday was my first pastorate, and still is one of the greatest blessings we’ve enjoyed. The people of Munday loved us. They had provided baby showers, gifts, and, as we brought Nathan home, would shower us with food, wonderful food. I still remember the almost unmanageable quantity of banana pudding (the homemade kind, not the Jello-brand excuse of banana pudding!) It was that pudding which caused me to begin my journey out of skinney-dom!  For Nathan’s birth, Shelley and I had driven to Abilene, the closest major hospital and pediatrician. We got up early, made our way in for the scheduled C-section, and welcomed Nathan at 7:58 AM.

It’s hard to believe 21 years has passed so quickly. I want to take a few lines of this website to say to Nathan: I love you and I’m a proud dad.

Nathan was shy, inquisitive, and independent from day one.  Twenty-one years later, he’s outgoing, but doesn’t feel any need to socialize just for socialization sake. He’s more inquisitive than ever (he’s rather watch a TED talk or listen to an executive summary of some cutting edge topic than play a video game or hang out at the mall). He’s always been, and still is, an inventor / builder /adapter. If there is an easy way to do something, he’d rather invent a technological way to do it!

One of the things of which I’m most grateful is that I had the privilege of taking him to school every morning, from Kindergarten through 9th grade. Our little drives to school were wonderful times of discussion about life and worldview. I’m even more grateful that after the 9th grade we got off that train and he began a home school / online program. The blessing of those three years, having Nathan at home or doing his work in my office was wonderful. I was able to watch him learn like never before, and grow into the smart young man he is today. (On a side note, if you are considering some form of home school, I am a big proponent. Why let others shape the worldview of your sons and daughters?)

Nathan White, 2015

Nathan White, 2015

I’m very pleased that my son is a skeptical student. He wants to learn (and does a great job doing it). But he also wants to question the assumptions (as I’ve taught him…and as I teach you). Just because the book ( teacher / professor / status quo) says it, doesn’t mean Nathan accepts it. For this, I am especially thankful. Our world is filled with a bunch of “garbage knowledge” that isn’t well-founded. Nathan doesn’t take the bait.

Nathan is a man of faith. He’s not overly impressed by the wishy-washy love-songs often called praise music (he’s been known to show up late to church so he could skip the burden). He’s not a fan of “go get ’em tiger” motivational sermons. He does, however, enjoy and appreciate good, theological, Biblical, doctrinal preaching. He’s becoming the go-to man for matters of faith and practice among his friends, and will grow in leadership in this area in the future, I’m convinced. A good doctrinal mind is hard to find, so he will become a magnet for those who are spiritually hungry for meat.

Nathan is a writer, like his dad. He gets frustrated when he doesn’t get some alone-time to think, prepare his thoughts, and get them on electronic paper (he actually doesn’t know how to use real paper and pen–he’s a modern boy in that regard). His writing is deep, insightful, and humorous.

Nathan is a man of dry, subtle humor (in this he inherits a long-held trait of the men in the White family). Those who don’t think in the vein of dry subtlety miss the humor. Those who do think in this vein will smile on the outside and laugh on the inside.

Happy Birthday, my Son. I’m proud of you.

I’ll close with one of my favorite poems, written by my favorite poet–

If

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Comments

By |2016-11-16T08:24:07+00:00August 11th, 2015|Articles, Ministry Updates|Comments Off on A Tribute to My Son, On His 21st Birthday