How does a boy become a man without a good mother? This is a mystery to me.

When I journeyed to my secret place or the place I also call the secret garden, I held the notion that the loss of a father, (the absence of a dad who has a proven track record and is worthy of being imitated) is a child’s greatest loss.

This changed in me this morning. How? Why? Valid questions.

Today, time in my sacred place was profound for me. Inexplicably I changed gardens. My sacred place today was in the family room. The walls and shelves showcase years of family photos.  

“As I became into still water where my life is not taxed with forethought of grief” -The Peace of Wild Things, William Berry. I asked the Lord to give me today’s Words of Hope. Lord, what do you want to teach me today?

Out of the multitude of pictures, the Kathleen Mitchell Crowell picture became the only photo in the room. Mom was probably in her mid-thirties. As all the Mitchell Irish ladies, she was beautiful.

A few days ago, I used oxygen as a metaphor for encouragement. Mom birthed 8 children in 13 years.

Fortunately for me, I had oxygen for 21 years. Mom was my oxygen. Her gifts to me included a moral compass, work ethic, spiritual guidance, respectable manners, and kindness to people of less station in life. Mom was my role model. It dawned on me this morning, I believed the loss of a father was the most significant child loss.  

My remarkable, truly amazing brother, Larry, lost our mother at age 9. He ran the street and was forced to take on man duties as a child.

Yet, how about the child who lost both a dad and a mom?

This is all a mystery. My life experience is full of kids who had amazing parents and tossed their lives away.  

Parents have one child who becomes a champion; the other a jail bird. Some kids come from abject depravity and become remarkably successful.

As I teach huge numbers of young people hoops this summer, one idea that looms large in me as I look into their eyes is this fantastic reality.

We do not get to choose our parents, yet we do get to choose the parents we become!

As I looked into mom’s beautiful face this morning, I asked the Lord to help me live in such a way to bring honor to my mom. Mom died of pancreatic cancer in 1963. She had a tough life. Today she is in Glory. Her most precious gift to me was to live such a way so I could learn to choose the right woman for me. She trained me well. Don’t believe? Come check out Mrs. C my life partner for 57 years.