On my run this morning, I was on a trail that went past my cut off and then cut back to join the trail I wanted to follow. I thought about cutting across the grass to save the extra strides. However, I just could not do that, even though it would be easier. Why you ask? I asked myself the same question and smiled.
My father was the Jr. High principle while I tried to survive my Jr. High years. Sometimes, this fact helped; but often it didn’t – as I’m sure you can you can imagine. Our Junior High school building in Friona had sidewalks that were laid out in a rectangle with large areas of grass and trees in the middle. During lunch break, the favorite activity of students was to walk around in groups (or as a couple, IF you were lucky or brave). Of course, as people do, many would cut the corners and walk on the grass. However, no one did that too many times until Principal Tom B. Jarboe (a.k.a. Dad) saw the perpetrator and made sure that did not happen again. Most students thought it was a silly rule and probably didn’t understand. But my Dad respected the work of our grounds keepers and enjoyed having green grass in front of the school. He felt a strong sense of pride in taking care of our blessings. A small item, perhaps, but somewhere he had learned that if we did not take care of the small things we would not take care of the big things – those things that really matter in our life and surroundings.
To this day, I still cannot cut the corners and walk across the grass without looking over my shoulder to make that my principle is not watching. Ok, I may not look any more, but I just don’t walk across the grass. It is small and insignificant to most, but very significant to me. It serves as a reminder of the larger matters of integrity that my father instilled within me, my sister, our spouses, the grandchildren and so many others who were blessed to fall under his influence. So I will keep taking the extra steps, not walking on the grass, as I remember the great blessing of a loving father filled with character and integrity.