January 10, 2020

Reflection / John Shaughnessy

Coach’s advice helps parents to share a lasting gift with their children

John ShaughnessyAs parents, we strive to instill in our children the faith that guides us, the values that are most important to us, and the qualities that we hope will live in our children’s hearts forever. Along with our love, they are the greatest gifts we can give our children.

Still, I never expected the importance of that inheritance would get reinforced by a college basketball coach during the most prestigious weekend of the season.

It happened years ago when my two sons were boys just learning the game of basketball. Taking them to a youth clinic during a Final Four weekend of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, I hoped my sons would get a few tips to improve their skills and their knowledge of the game from the college coaches who were chosen to speak to the 1,600 young people.

Instead, one coach, Peter Roby, shared some advice about life and love that I wished my sons—and I—would never forget. Here is what Roby said:

“What you have to understand is this. Every day of our life, we wear a uniform. That uniform is the name of your family that you carry with you. It’s written across your chest whether you can see it or not. So every day of my life, I try to represent my family the best way I possibly can. I have two children, and the example I try to set for them is that when you have people that love you, you don’t do anything to hurt them.”

Roby paused for a moment. Then he added, “Tell your mom and dad and those that love you that you love them. Don’t wait. When I talk to my mom and dad on the phone, the last thing I say before I hang up is, ‘I love you.’ Nobody is going to tell me that is not cool. Telling people that care about you that you love them is the coolest thing you can do in your life.”

I don’t remember who won the national championship that year—or even any of the teams who played in that Final Four. But the lessons from Roby have endured in my memory, serving as reminders of what’s important in life.

In a similar way, God calls us to keep our focus on what’s essential and enduring.

As our Father, he blesses us with an abundance of gifts—our life, our family, our friends, our talents, and the hope and promise of each day. Most of all, he offers us the richest inheritance—eternal life with him.

He has even given us the two-step guide to receiving this inheritance: Love God, love your neighbor.

What is the inheritance you hope to leave?

Share an inheritance that will last.

(This reflection is an excerpt from John Shaughnessy’s latest book, Then Something Wondrous Happened: Unlikely encounters and unexpected graces in search of a friendship with God. It is available on www.amazon.com. Or contact Shaughnessy at jshaughnessy@archindy.org.)

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