This is like the 3rd point in a bad 3 point sermon: Family, Friends and Parents. I don't feel the need to remind all of you how much I love my parents. They have been a wonderful support and blessing my entire life and I appreciate so much the relationship we have today. But one thing I really like about my parents is that they welcomed other parents into my life. They were open to others loving me and disciplining me, the second of which I did not enjoy. For conversation sake we will call these people 2nd parents. I have had a lot over the years.
The earliest 2nd Par. I know of would be Billie and Rennie Holt. My parents best friends from the 7th and Orange church in Escondido. Great people the Holt's are. Donielle and I were raised with their kids Jamey and Jeremy. We were basically one large family cluster. Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas diners for years were spent together and some of the worst slide shows in history was our best entertainment. There is a large list of 2nd parents that follow the Holts. The McFarlands, the Lights, the Bankheads, the David and Paul Winters, and the Bescands. These people all watched out for me in some way throughout my younger years. Each family left a mark on me, physically and emotionally. It was tough growing up in my church, because anyone of the fore mentioned "parents" had freedom to punish each others kids. It was tough to get away with stuff, but we did.
My greatest 2nd Parents from California will always be the Martins. I was the 3rd boy from the youth group that they took into their home. Jay O'brien was first, followed by my brother-in-law, Kenny and then me. Todd Bankhead was the 4th and last. We all had freedom to become apart of the Martin family. The door was always open to us and Bubba and Robynn loved us in good times and bad. Being a parent myself I look back at the sacrifice my own parents made in letting me be with the Martins so much. Bubba and Robynn both molded me in more ways then they will ever know. Bubba and Robynn are living saints in God's kingdom and so much of what I am is because of them.
In Abilene the parental force was weak for a while. I was on my own and learning many lessons the hard way. But it is amazing how God provides for the needy. Wayne and Mimmi Bernard, Terry and Gayla Pope, Mark Lewis, Jim Mankin, John and Evelyn Willis all offered love and wisdom in a very difficult time for me. Again it is amazing how God provides exactly what is needed.
Since leaving Abilene and finally maturing some, the need for parents has not been as strong. Here in Temple we have been loved and nurtured by godly people who have been encouragers as Shar and I become parents. James Pendland shares wisdom like, "babies and dogs - they need love, sleep and calories in that order." This has been a wonderful place to learn to be parents.
But I would not be able to mention wonderful 2nd parents without telling you about Sharla's parents. Ron and Diana Smetana are just wonderful to me. It has been amazing the love they show to me and also to my family. The countless times my own parents have stayed with them is part of it, but also they have welcomed my sister and her family, the Martins and countless college friends into their home with no question or complaint. What a great example of love and generosity they have been to me.
Now, all of the 2nd Parents that I have mentioned could never replace the relationship I have with my mom and dad. There is the difference. Parents can be many, but you only have one mom and dad. What has been so wonderful for me is the fact that my parents have been complimented by a host of godly people who were willing to take me and guide me for a while. God has given me so much. Thank you to all who have endured me as I grow. Please keep up the good work.