He was there during my first T-ball game when I played for the Braves and he was sitting in the stands for my final high school lacrosse game. Beyond physical development however, my dad has helped refine my maturity and composure as well. He taught me a very important principle that was described well by John Newton (the man who wrote amazing grace) - "We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday's burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it."
This did not come easy for me to say the least. When I was younger I used to play baseball. Pretty much everyone in Beaufort played baseball from 5-14. I loved baseball and everything that went with it. Sunflower seeds, clay in your shoes, and the sound of the ball hitting a bat. Sadly, I never once made the all star team for baseball! (I sure loved it but that love didn't translate into performance haha) I was devastated every year when all of my friends made the all stars but I never did. I probably said I wanted to quit every year after the all star roster came out. My dad never let me. He told me the only way to make all stars was to keep working hard and get better!! You have to leave behind the problems and the shortcomings of the past and get ready for the future, get ready for today! Little things like that stick with a young man, even if his father doesn't realize or remember.
When I got older and life progressed there were many times when heartbroken, I laid on my couch upstairs bemoaning my situation and told my dad I didn't want to go to church (I'm sure much more dramatic at the time). That same principle of perseverance was then translated into a more important situation. He told me it is when you are feeling at your worst or hurting the most that you NEED to go to church and do the things you know you must do. I have never forgotten that.
Now, believe it or not I haven't always been perfect in choosing the right but my dad has never left me behind or condemned me. The times when I was at my lowest would have been insurmountable if I had not had my righteous father to lead and guide me. Even on days when I was totally fine he was a bright light. His super generous gesture of buying doughnuts pretty much every Saturday (except in wrestling season) definitely will carry over into my future family :). He taught me the ways of the world and the importance of standing up for what's right.
When I went to the NRA youth summit in Washington they wrote about me- "Tyler consistently stood out as a leader in the group. He was always presentable, attentive, eager to learn, and conducted himself like a southern gentleman (think Atticus Finch for comparison)." 100% of this great compliment I can attribute to my Atticus Finch like father. He taught me to open doors for women, to look someone in the eye when talking, he taught me humor goes a long way. Most importantly he taught me to treat EVERYONE with the same amount of respect that you would expect. He taught me this not because it is socially or politically advantageous (although it is) - not because the laws of God demand such (although they do). He taught me this from the goodness and purity that is found in his huge heart.
He is the most morally oriented person I have ever met in my life. He maintains this extreme emotional equilibrium even in his public work setting. From the mayor to the guys that work for him, they always say great things about him. Even a former drug dealer I worked with had good things to say about Matt Clancy (apparently he bought him a drink at a gas station or something a few years ago).
One of my wrestling coaches (who also is a police officer) told me one night after our banquet - "Tyler, I don't know if you realize it - but you have one hell of a father". I told him I did realize it.
Last February my wrestling team was in the state championship. We were up against the defending state champs and we all knew it was going to be a tough battle. During the weigh ins, our top wrestler was low blowed by a shoddy ref who said a scratch on his arm was "probably dangerous" and he was disqualified. We were all devastated and it would have been really easy to give up hope. When it was my turn to weigh in I weighed in at 189.7 pounds. My opponent who weighed in next to me was 220.2 pounds... I knew this was going to be a dogfight. The pressure was on.
The stands were packed and all eyes were on the ONE mat in the very center. The match started at 195 lbs. My friend unfortunately got pinned really quickly and before I knew it, I was strapped up and ready to go. The music was blaring and all eyes were on me. The guy I wrestled was over 6 feet tall and anyone who knows me knows.......I'm not.
When the whistle blew I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Since he had such long legs I was going to ankle pick him and work off of that. Anyone who has wrestled up (wrestled above their normal weight class) knows you don't want to spend a lot of time on the mat wrestling because they are bigger and it will wear you out very quickly. Unfortunately for me, my plan didn't exactly pan out. Although I was able to take him down we spent quite a bit of time on the mat and it took pretty much everything I had to keep that big ox of a kid down. When the third and final period arrived it was tied but I had the choice to choose down in referees position. That meant all I had to do was escape and not get taken down for the win. Easier said than done when you have an angry 220 pound kid from upstate South Carolina on your back determined to not let you do so.
Before I knew it I was a minute into the final period and I was being forced into a cradle. Suddenly, everything was silent. I couldn't hear a thing. I was in the zone. I took the path of most resistance and forced myself out of the cradle. He recovered for maybe one second but that was all I needed I swiveled and squirmed my way out of that big cat's arms and got on my feet. That was it, I was winning. With 30 seconds left in the match I had to give everything I had to not get taken down (because my goodness that kid was going to try). I was running on fumes and my grip was shot but I kept on pushing. The buzzer rang. That was it, I won!
Many times in life we will find ourselves in similar situations... a sort of figurative state championship if you will. You will be wrestling for survival in this crazy and unforgiving world. If we push through and fight tooth and nail to get through, we will soon realize that our Father in Heaven was cheering for us all the time. Once we get off the mat he will help you stand up and give you something to drink too :-). I realize that not everyone has a great role model of a father like I did. There are very few in fact who have such a blessing in my life as I do. However what we must always remember is that we all have our Father in Heaven who loves us all with a perfect love. He is constantly cheering us on and hoping we make the right choices. Whether we sin or do good our Father will not love us any less.
More than anything he wants us to get down on our knees and ask for help. I know my dad expects and wants certain things for me, and because I love him I want to do those! Our Heavenly Father is the same way. He knows what choices will lead us towards eternal happiness and cheers when we do those things. If everyone knew that they had a Father In Heaven who loved them dearly, I am sure we would have a much different world.
Love to all
|At Winterset Lofts where a man we visit every week raises pigeons.|
Winterset, Iowa is where John Wayne was born.
|Batter for "reeses muffins" a Clancy/Fox concoction|
|Some super thick fog we have had this week|
|Battling Sister Park and her Asian fooseball powers|
between general conference.
|A photo taken of Elder Clancy 1964....jk on a polaroid camera|
|Our new mascot/air freshmner/tiki man|