Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Sam!

Today is my oldest son’s birthday. I can hardly believe that he is turning 22. It seems like just a short time ago he entered this world, a squalling pink bundle of joy, amidst my wife’s shrieks of agony. It’s incredible how quickly the years have flown by.

He’s turned out to be a fine young man. His moral compass is set to true North and he’s looking to graduate in December with a Bachelor’s degree in economics, very possibly summa cum laude. He has great relationships with his professors and has insight into events that are wise beyond his years.

What a joy this journey has been. As I look back I can’t remember any significant periods of turmoil. I know what your saying, “Diabetes has clouded your memory Keith!”, but in all honesty it hasn’t. Yes we’ve had a few squabbles, but mostly it’s been smooth sailing. I credit most of it to the Lord’s guiding hand and that my wife and I have picked our battles carefully.

One battle I specifically chose not to have was over hair. During my teenage years my parents and I fought terribly, mostly over hair length. I wanted it longer and my mom, in particular wanted it short. It was the early 70’s. Things were in transition. In many circles it was about appearances. The older folks viewed longer hair as aberrant while shorter hair was viewed as good or ‘the norm’. Most of my friends had longer hair while mine wasn’t. It made for some nasty, tearful arguments and for hurt feelings. Bruised feelings don’t heal quickly. Unfortunately, when I was in my late teens my mom became mentally ill and then when I was 21, she died unexpectedly. I feel badly that we had never truly turned the corner from parent-child to adult-friend and healed those wounds.

I told my boys early on I had two rules about hair: 1) it had to be neat (relatively speaking) and 2) it had to be clean, after that anything goes. My oldest never cared too much about hair and his has fluctuated moderately with the current style. However, my youngest has gone from mid-shoulder length to buzzed, then to spiked and then to red, to green and to blue. If it had to do with hair, he’s covered the gamut. Does it matter? I guess it could, but if kids are being responsible, doing the things they should and have good moral character, why make it an issue?

I’m counting my blessings tonight. I hope I have many more years to watch these guys grow, revel in their accomplishments and most of all, enjoy their friendship.



Blogger George said...

Happy Birthday Sam! I am sure that the reason for his good behavior comes a lot from great parenting too!

The proof's in the pudding.

Children are such a blessing and so are great parents!

9:54 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Thanks for the compliment George. We have tried to be wise and not 'provoke our children to anger' as it says in Ephesians. Still there's alot of things for which I just can't take credit.

4:28 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Happy Birthday Sam!

Keith, you seem to have good parenting instincts....knowing when to give slack, knowing when to pull in the reigns.

I wish your mom would've let you have long hair just so I could see a picture of you lookin' like a hippy.

4:54 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

My mom may have actually been doing me a favor, Shannon. I've always had thin hair so she may have saved both me and the public the embarrassment of long, stringy, fly-away hair.

Yeah, me as a hippy would've been interesting!

6:02 AM  
Blogger Vivian said...

Happy Birthday to Sam. I am so sorry about your mother, it is so hard to lose them before we can set things right. She would be very proud of the man you have turned out to be. You are a blessing to those around you and I bet more so to your sons. Have a happy day of reflection.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

Thanks for your concern Vivian. Due to her mental state at the end it would've been hard to set things right and to be honest, I didn't have my head on straight yet either.

Congrats on Daniel's new pump! You're a great mom and I know he will 'rise up and call you blessed' in the coming years.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Penny said...

Happy birthday, Sam.

Keith, it sounds like you have raised a fine boy. Also, you are very wise to pick your battles. As the mother of a 16 year old, I focus on what is important, and that's being a good and moral person that makes a contribution to the world. Hair, tattoos, and the such have nothing to do with that.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Wow Keith, it's been a couple of months! Surely you've had something to blog about :)

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I hope things are going well. I recently came across your blog during work at the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Because you are living with diabetes, I thought you might be interested in helping out IDF a bit.

We are in the midst of our preparations for the first UN-observed World Diabetes Day (www.worlddiabetesday.org) on 14 November this year, and I wanted to ask you if you would like to help us to spread awareness of this worldwide event and the theme we have chosen for it this year - Diabetes in Children and Adolescents.

It is estimated that over 200 children develop type 1 diabetes every day and there's no question that the disease often hits disadvantaged communities the hardest, and that children in the developing world can die because their parents are unable to afford medication. In many countries diabetes is still considered an adult disease and as a result can be diagnosed late with severe consequences, including death. Even after diagnosis many children experience poor control and develop complications early.

This is why one of our key objectives for World Diabetes Day this year is to double the number of children covered by the Life for a Child Program - http://www.worlddiabetesday.org/go/wdd-2007/life-for-a-child. We also want to encourage initiatives that can help to reduce diabetic ketoacidosis (diabetic coma) and to promote the sort of healthy lifestyles which can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes in children.

A version of the diabetes circle, the icon we used for our Unite for Diabetes campaign http://www.unitefordiabetes.org/ has now been adopted for World Diabetes Day and we have produced a number of web banners that you can view and download here http://banners.worlddiabetesday.org.

The way in which you can help us spread awareness of World Diabetes Day is to add one of the banners to your own blog, which we would really appreciate.

The UN's World Diabetes Day Resolution (61/225) was really just the first goal of an ambitious campaign that we have been leading. This is the first time a non-communicable disease has been recognised as a serious threat to global public health and we are hoping now to further raise awareness globally of the disease that is predicted to contribute to 6% of the world’s mortality in 2007.

If you would like to know more about the UN Resolution and our plans for World Diabetes Day this year, just drop me a line and I will get back to you with more information.

Many thanks,
Stephanie Tanner
IDF - Communications Assistant

1:42 AM  
Blogger elise urbahn said...

Hi Keith,

I work at dLife and I was wondering if you would like to be added to our diabetes blogger email liste? Every week we send out a fun video clip and/or and interested diabetes news blurb. If you are interested, please email me at urbahn at dlife dot com.


8:07 AM  
Blogger Bernard said...


I was checking my blogroll and noticed that you've not posted since mid-April.

How are things with you? Too busy to post or is it something else?

I hope that life is treating you well and that you'll get back to posting before too long.

5:28 PM  
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1:36 AM  

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