Category Archives: Opinion

Inadequate Prayer by Patty LaRoche

People who work on taxes are geniuses. So are travelers who understand foreign exchange rates. You’ve met their kind. They read business books as bathroom literature instead of Chicken Soup for the Soul books as I do. As secretary for our condominium board in Mazatlan, I, the lone woman out of seven representatives, have given up trying to engage in conversations about currencies. I stick to my expertise: typing pretty fast and asking the men to dumb down whatever they are saying so I can make the minutes relatively understandable.

Three years ago when I was first elected, I tried to keep up when the former CEO’s discussed these money matters. My bi-line became “I don’t get it.” I don’t get it in the United States, and I sure didn’t get it in Mexico where the taxes and laws and pesos fluctuate like bouncy balls at a Chucky Cheese restaurant.

One year later, I liberated myself. I didn’t have to “get it.” Six men did. They had owned banks and wineries and medical companies and were entrepreneurs in up-start endeavors. Finances are their “thing.”

Mine is communication.

Including sharing Jesus. Not in an obnoxious, judgmental way (like I did as a baby Christian—I grimace when I think of how unbearable I was), but by using humor. For example, more than once I have reminded one board partner that he is moving up my prayer ladder when he uses profanity. He now corrects himself. And we all laugh.

But as we all know, there are times when humor is not the answer. Prayer is, and God has proven over and over that it is the most powerful communication tool He has given me.

Take Frank, for instance. Canadians Frank and Gale were delightful owners at our complex. Frank was a former hockey player and sometimes a tennis partner of mine. He suffered a massive stroke and was taken to a Mazatlan hospital. When I went to visit him, he was belligerent. Gale had stepped out of his room for a few minutes, and he demanded she return. There was no comforting him. This was not the happy-go-lucky Frank I knew.

When I learned that Gale had chartered a plane to take them back to Canada, I felt God nudge me to visit him one last time. There was no response when I asked Frank if I could pray for them, and for a moment, when Frank looked at Gale in panicked silence, the thought that I had over-stepped my bounds crossed my mind. Okay, it didn’t just “cross my mind.” It smacked me upside my head and let me know I had just completely offended two people I cared about. Gale was kind enough to repeat my question, and hesitantly, Frank said yes. We held hands, and I prayed. That was a year ago.

Through their best friends Rich and Carol and my email correspondence with Gale, I learned that things were bad. Frank had been in and out of the hospital and was down to 80 pounds. Recently Carol called me to share that—out of the clear blue—Frank asked Gale if she remembered me praying for them. In Gale’s words, “In our entire marriage (40+ years), we had never prayed. Frank said he wanted to pray. So, we did. And then he asked if a priest could come to baptize him, confirm him, and give him the Last Rights.” Gale made the call.

God took a simple prayer from someone completely inadequate and made an eternal difference. Within a few weeks, Frank passed away.

Risky? Only if I want to think of it that way. In reality, I risk nothing when I offer to pray. Instead, I offer others the greatest gift I can give and then let God do all the work.

(So much easier than explaining foreign currency.)

Woe, by Patty LaRoche

A psychiatry professor was teaching the introductory lesson on emotional extremes to his college class. Starting with the basics, the professor asked a student from Arkansas, “What is the opposite of joy?” and the student immediately replied, “Sadness.” The teacher moved on to a young lady from Oklahoma and asked, “And the opposite of depression?” to which she responded, “Elation.” Then, turning to a young man from Texas, the professor said, “And you, friend, what is the opposite of woe?” In the blink of an eye the young Texan replied, “Sir, I believe that would be `giddy-up.”

(I hope you are smiling.) In reality, spelled “Whoa” or “Woe,” both are warnings. In the Bible, “Woe” in Greek is “ouai” and is a judgment that typically signifies impending doom and/or the wrath of God. It is worse than using the middle name of your child to get his/her attention. In Jesus’ day, those three letters caused knees to shake and sweat to pool on more than one forehead, which is why Jesus used “Woe” with the legalistic Pharisees.

In Matthew, chapter 23 alone, he recites the warning word eight times. Seven of them read like this: But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. One refers to them as blind guides. Each “Woe” carries with it its own description of ungodly behavior. So, what did the religious Pharisees do to invoke such anger from Jesus? Let me count the ways.

Okay, I can’t. There are too many. Most, however, share one theme: the Pharisees are prideful. They humble the multitudes while elevating their own status. If there were a Hall of Fame in Jesus’ day, they would have duked it out to have their names inscribed on the plaque. Their self-importance causes them to demand attention and submission, a behavior despised by Jesus whose very words “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God” points to their sin.

For goodness sakes, Jesus stands nose-to-nose with these leaders on an almost-daily basis, yet they fail to recognize Truth when they smell it. Even when Jesus repeatedly traps them in their own game of “Trick the Rabbi,” the majority sulk instead of opening their hearts to hear what he was trying to teach them about their pride.

The message is just as relevant today. We are equally guilty. All we have to do connect on social media where we are afforded the perfect place for a relatively new term: “humblebrag.” You know what I’m talking about.

Closet-cleaning day ahead. Losing those 40 pounds has forced me to donate all of my XL sizes.”

Some days I feel so guilty about my parenting skills, but then my sweet little prince brings me iced tea by the pool and I know there is hope.”

Just bought several more acres but dread the taxes that will follow. Are you with me?”

Hidden within the humble words are subtle (?) ways to boast. Jesus might have a “Woe” or two for these people, don’t you think? But before I find too much comfort in writing about someone else’s pride, I should stop giddy-upping on my high horse and admit I deserve a thunderous “Woe” admonition for criticizing anyone for their pride (like I just did with my social media quotes).

If I truly were pride-less, I would know that in pointing to others’ arrogance, I am elevating myself as just a little more righteous, a little more Pharisee-like (and a lot less Christ-like), probably giving new meaning to the phrase, “Oh, woe is me!”

Kathy Crosby by Patty LaRoche

Kathy Crosby, wife of Ed, the (then) second baseman for the Cleveland Indians, wanted to lose weight. Her husband encouraged her and daily asking for an update. At first, she was proud of the scale’s readings and couldn’t wait to share the good news with Ed. But after a while, she realized he was “too” on board, “too” bossy about ways to expedite her weight loss.

One day, when Ed was out of town on a road trip, Kathy decided to cheat. Kentucky Fried Chicken was just around the corner. Surely a piece—or three—of white meat, a scoop—or two—of mashed potatoes, and a biscuit—or two–couldn’t hurt. Plus, her husband would never know. When he would return late that night and ask, she would say she had done well. After all, “well” is relative, right?

What Kathy did not know was that the local KFC had prepared a huge celebration for the one-millionth customer who crossed its threshold. You can guess who that was. As soon as Kathy placed her order, a trio of bagpipe players, the Cleveland press, dignitaries from the home office and all the KFC employees surrounded a stunned Kathy. Presenting her with a bouquet of balloons and enough chicken coupons to last a lifetime, my friend stood by, looking like she had just swallowed a barnyard of eggs.

When Ed came home that night, Kathy picked him up at the airport. It took no time for him to ask how her diet was progressing. She talked about how disciplined she had been and how she had done so well. Relative, right? Ed was proud and told her so.

The next morning, while reading the Cleveland Press newspaper, Ed noticed a photo of someone who strongly resembled his wife. So strongly did she resemble his wife that he read the article. Enter Kathy. Ed pointed to the picture and asked if that would happen to be the same person—who just happened to be named Kathy Crosby– who had “done so well.”

Who has ever been serenaded with BAGPIPES?” Kathy moaned at the ballgame that evening. “We’re in Ohio, not Scotland, for goodness sakes.” My friend had been caught, greasy-handed. We wives were hysterical by the time she finished wailing.

Let’s be honest. Who of us hasn’t been guilty of fudging a little to avoid disappointing or displeasing someone we care about? (Pause here. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, this article is not for you.) For the rest of us, you get it, right?

Probably one of the most notorious “cover your track” guys is Israel’s King Saul when confronted by the prophet Samuel, his mentor. God had commissioned Saul to kill the evil Amalekites, men, women, children, and animals. Saul, however, spared the king of the Amalekites and the best of their animals. To him, partial obedience was good enough. Enter Samuel whom Saul greeted with these words: “Blessed are you of the Lord. I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” At this point, Saul is not doing so well.

It’s confrontation time. Samuel speaks. “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” Busted! The title of “King” is stripped from Saul. And although Saul’s giveaway was the noise of sheep and not bagpipes, he, like Kathy, did not escape the voice of displeasure. In his case, there were two main differences: (1) The displeasure came from God and not his spouse, and (2) No one found humor in Saul’s story.

In the end, neither Saul nor Kathy had “done so well”… relatively speaking, that is.

Quinton By Patty LaRoche

The day after my granddaughter Amanda’s wedding in Las Vegas, Dave and Nikki, her parents, worked a charity golf tournament for Quinton Robbins, the twenty-year-old family friend who had been murdered in the Las Vegas concert massacre last year. Since his death, Quinton’s parents have determined to keep his memory alive. His friends have done likewise.

On the side of the large hill in Henderson, Nevada, Basic High School classmates painted a gigantic “Q” beside the “B” that, for years, has served as a source of pride for the students. Should you visit that area, it will not be uncommon to see Quinton’s logo– a Q, antlers, a fishing hook and #3 for his sports jerseys’ number–on the rear window of several vehicles.

Joe and Tracey, Quinton’s parents, started a “Random Act of Kindness” tribute in their son’s name by creating 3” x 2” cards to be shared. (See insert above.) The cards went viral. People at dry cleaners, movie theaters, gas stations and restaurants would “Play It Forward” (“Play,” not “Pay” because of their son’s love of sports) and leave Quinton’s card for individuals behind them. They, in turn, would post on Facebook how they had been blessed.

At one In-N-Out, a restaurant where Amanda worked, twenty-eight cars in a row participated! Can you imagine what fun the attendant had, sharing with each car at the drive-through what number they were? “Sir, you are the 11th in line to keep this going.” “Ma’am, you are the 19th to play forward.” “Folks, you have just put an end to 28 people blessing others. Not cool!” (Okay, that didn’t happen, but I bet it crossed the employee’s mind.)

We all had a big laugh when Dave, our son-in-law, shared his experience about paying for the lone woman in the car behind him at a drive-through. After all, what could one person possibly cost? Thirty-seven dollars, to be exact. Either she was really hungry, or she was carrying out for her entire family. Whatever the reason, Dave said from that point on, he would put a cap on his contribution.

In spite of the Robbins’ desire to bless, the pain of Quinton’s death continues. At Amanda’s wedding, everyone understood when Tracey and Joe left during the groom’s dance with his mother. Still, they press on, creating scholarships in their son’s name. They are a testimony to the truth of Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

When adversity strikes, we long for our tears to evaporate, our disappointments to fade, our suffering to vanish. None of that can happen without God’s provision to meet those needs.

Joe and Tracey refuse to let their son’s death stifle their commitment to be used by God. They respond to their personal grief by knowing the day will come when, thanks to Jesus, they will be reunited with Quinton in Heaven. After all, who paid it forward more than our Savior?

I am inspired to follow the Robbins’ lead and continue their Play It Forward memorial. Perhaps you will be inspired to do the same.

Amanda’s Wedding by Patty LaRoche

At weddings, my dress purse contains three things: lipstick, a nail file and Kleenex—lots and lots of Kleenex. This past weekend, I was in good company. By the time the celebration was over, there weren’t many dry eyes left.

This past Friday, I witnessed a sacred marriage union in which Tyler and my granddaughter, Amanda, committed themselves to God first, and each other, second. From the time they met fifteen months ago until this past Friday, they determined to keep their relationship pure. Their first kiss came at their engagement, and their next, after their wedding vows. Was it hard? According to them, crazy hard!

I pray you readers have had an opportunity to witness such a marriage. Perhaps it was your own. If so, you surely appreciated a sense of reverence and knew that you were a spectator to something extraordinary. Honoring God above all else has a way of causing that to happen.

Tyler and Amanda have many common interests. She works in the children’s ministry at church, and he is headed to seminary in North Carolina in the fall. They both ride dirt bikes, golf, line-dance and two-step, adore children and pray together daily.

At the rehearsal, the pastor brought everyone together to instruct us that this wedding would be God-centered and those in attendance would be encouraged to follow in the bride’s and groom’s footsteps and ask Jesus into their hearts. This would be no foo-foo message.

On the wedding day, the four sets of grandparents met at the church 30 minutes before the ceremony started; we were greeted by a scene that silenced our small-talk-ramblings: With heads bowed, the groom and his eight groomsmen huddled in prayer. During the ceremony, the pastor held true to his rehearsal instructions. The entire service was about God being foundational to a great marriage.

The rehearsal was no different. Toasts from the bridesmaids and groomsmen all confirmed what every guest knew: This couple had remained pure and couldn’t wait to spend their lives together honoring Jesus. Even their fun, crazy friends—most of them, actually–recognized something special in this couple. Three of Amanda’s maids-of-honor had known her since pre-school days. Together they had played softball and volleyball, ridden motorcycles, wakeboarded and taken years of dance lessons. Her friends had celebrated when—and yes, I will brag here just a little– she was voted Prom Queen her senior year, the most coveted honor at her high school, but most importantly, that she had grown in her love of the Lord and her desire to honor Him.

The groomsmen had similar stories about Tyler, and following their toasts, his mother spoke. Ever since her youngest son was born, she shared, not a day had gone by that she had not prayed for God to bring a strong Christian woman into his life. She fought tears while sharing that Amanda far surpassed anything she could have chosen.

By then, I had used (or shared) the entire box of Kleenex I had stuffed into my purse. I was not the only one grateful for table napkins.

Like I said, honoring God above all else has a way of causing that to happen.

Next time, I will bring a satchel.

God On Television by Patty LaRoche

God has made a resurgence on television. I first noticed it on one of my favorite singing competitions, American Idol, where this season several contestants shared that their singing roots were in church. Home videos were proof. Many were vocal about their faith and gave God the glory for their abilities. I prayed for them to be the last ones standing.

When Kyla Jade sang the Christian song “How Great Thou Art,” only a few notes into the melody, the live audience erupted in applause. Their standing ovation seemed endless. No one booed or stormed out in protest when God was being celebrated. I had proud goosebumps.

As the contestants were eliminated, five were left. Alone in the green room before their performances, they were free to do whatever they wanted. When they came onto the stage, Ryan Seacrest, the show’s host, questioned how they had spent their time. More spontaneous applause followed their answer: “We were praying.” And so was I, praying that their futures may continue to be testimonies to their love of God.

American Idol was not the only show where faith was expressed. This year’s shortened competition on Dancing With the Stars showed off the talents of athletes. One of them, Jennie Finch, was a softball pitcher (whom I have admired for years). She and her dance partner, Keo Motsepe, had learned the difficult choreography, but a few days before the show’s airing, Finch was convicted the song’s lyrics were not ones she wanted her children to hear. In her words, “I want to glorify God out there, and that just wasn’t a great choice for me to do that.” Motsepe was forced to choose another song and re-choreograph the dance. One of the judges commended Finch for sticking to her convictions. I needed pom poms.

And how about Britain’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markel where God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit were mentioned several times! (Yes, I set my alarm for the opening television coverage.) My prayers were that everyone who watched would be touched by the sacredness of the occasion and want to know more about this holy Trinity.

The same day, when the news stations turned to the live footage following the tragic, Santa Fe, Texas, school shooting, five community leaders spoke. All acknowledged that prayer was the answer. Thank you, Jesus.

More recently we were given first-row television seats to Rosanne Barr’s firing from ABC following the disparaging remarks she Tweeted about Valerie Jarrett (a beautiful woman, in my opinion). The public scorn was fast and furious but ultimately brought Barr to her knees where she Tweeted about her Jewish faith, asking God to help use this “bad experience” to move her to a place where she can help the hopeless.

“These [are] the four steps in repentance: admitting you were wrong, making restitution, asking forgiveness from those u have hurt & at last, cracking open your heart in deep sorrow and remorse, where tears flow.” For Barr, even those comments produced no standing ovations. No one reminded the naysayers we all are sinners and fall short of God’s glory. The skeptics were out in droves, questioning where this faith has been during Barr’s long, public career and praising ABC for acting swiftly. And although I must admit her apology elicited no proud goosebumps for me (perhaps a little judgmental?), of all the television personalities whose faith has been exposed, I think Roseanne Barr needs our prayers the most.

Make The Most of Opportunities By Patty LaRoche

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. (Col. 4:5)

We met in the exercise room. “I’ll only be in here two minutes,” she said as a way of introduction. Two became twenty, during which time I learned the following:

  • She is divorced from an abusive man who pays her only $600 a month in alimony. Her attorneys took most of her life savings.
  • She has fibromyalgia and has battled Lyme’s disease for 20 years.
  • She has been in three car accidents.
  • Her siblings all say she is a hypochondriac.
  • Some of the doctors she has seen have been really mean, especially her urologist.
  • The house she put a bid on won’t be ready for three weeks, all of her possessions are in five storage bins, and that’s what led her to stay in the same 2-Star motel as I am. (Read last week’s article.) She is not happy here for several reasons.
  • Feral cats live by the dumpster and someone feeds them.
  • Geese, which are a protected species but should not be, leave their feces everywhere around the motel.
  • Her room is filthy and filled with cockroaches. (I have seen only one.)
  • The people above her have children who bounce off the bed.
  • Last night she was awakened by a woman screaming. It was “really hard” to go back to sleep.
  • Her previous apartment had mold.
  • Her Labrador/best friend returned neurotic from a week at dog obedience school, refusing to mind and jumping on people. Not what she expected for $1500.00, and since there is so much geese/feral cat feces and people-litter around this motel, she has difficulty finding a place to get him some exercise.
  • She has gained twelve pounds, has a muffin-top, and her hair is falling out.

Twice I interjected some thoughts, like how I probably would have alerted the desk about the screaming and surely there are some dog parks nearby. She ignored the first suggestion and spent five minutes explaining how, in her condition, it is difficult to navigate the dog park.

From that point on, I vowed to keep my thoughts to myself.

Then, looking at her watch, she said she had to scoot because she had a fibro-myalgia massage scheduled but maybe I could go out with her this weekend to a fun bar or movie.

Rats!” I answered insincerely. “In two days my husband and I will be relocating to the other side of Jacksonville.” She seemed disappointed and said she hoped we could get together sometime.

Lord, please, NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I said to myself.

As a Christian, I know God wastes no opportunities. Pastor Andy Stanley once wrote, “We don’t need to pray for more miracles, we just need to be more sensitive to the opportunities that God brings our way.” Do I believe God had a reason for Ms. Chatterbox and me meeting? Yes. Maybe to tell her Jesus is the answer or maybe just to be a listening ear or maybe to hear someone complain non-stop so I know what I sometimes sound like to God. No doubt to pray for her.

In actuality, I did all of the above…well, except for telling her Jesus is the answer. For that one, as I had vowed, I kept my thoughts to myself.

And with that opportunity, I failed her the greatest.

Obituary for Barbara Rose Ivey

Barbara Rose Ivey, age 83, a resident of Ft. Scott, Kansas, passed away Saturday, May 19, 2018, at the Mercy Hospital Emergency Room in Ft. Scott.

She was born February 12, 1935, in Frederick, Oklahoma, the daughter of James Davis and Josephine Harmon Davis.

Barbara married Loyd Alton Ivey on July 31, 1952, in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.

Barbara had worked in customer service for Ennis Business Forms for thirty years. She enjoyed spending time with her family especially at Christmas. She enjoyed writing poetry, tending her flowers and working on art projects. She was an active resident of Ft. Scott Manor where she liked to play Bingo and participate in various activities. She also served as President of the Resident’s Advisory Board. She was a member of the Community Christian Church.

Survivors include a daughter, Sharon Button, of Ft. Scott and a son, John Ivey, and wife, Teresa, of Wichita, Kansas; twelve grandchildren, Stacey Culpepper, Jessica Ivey, Kelley Tucker, Kimberly Graham, Kristy Sickles, Kaylee Button, Scotty Button, Brandon Ivey, Justin Ivey, Crystal Ivey, Dylan Ivey and Quintin Ivey and twenty-six great-grandchildren.

Her husband, Loyd Ivey, Sr., preceded her in death on April 28, 2009. She was also preceded in death by three sons, Loyd Ivey, Jr., Randy Ivey and Roger Ivey, who died in infancy; two great-grandchildren; two brothers and two sisters.

Rev. Kevin Moyers will conduct funeral services at 1:30 P.M. Wednesday, May 23rd, at the Cheney Witt Chapel.

Burial will follow in the Evergreen Cemetery.

The family will receive friends on Wednesday from 12:30 P.M. until service time at the Cheney Witt Chapel.

Memorials are suggested to the American Heart Association and may be left in the care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Discipline By Patty LaRoche

Helicopter parents, as I wrote last week, refuse to let their kiddies suffer consequences. These folks are the first ones in the principal’s/coach’s/ dance instructor’s office when their child complains about unfair treatment.

Not my mom.

No matter how many times in grade school I whined about how mean my teacher, Sister Deloris Marie, was to me, my mother never changed her tune: “Well, Patty, you must have done something to irritate poor Sister.”

Yea, like breathe,” I reminded her and then added dramatically, “But when I come home dead someday, you will know who is responsible.” And then I went outside to play kick-the-can. In my mother’s eyes, I was guilty until proven innocent and had Sister Deloris Marie notified my mother of me misbehaving, there would have been double-trouble at home.

Then the unexpected happened. A classmate’s mother came to our house to share that her daughter was bothered by how Sister treated me. It was a Hallelujah moment. My typically non-interfering mother, now forced to resolve the issue, set up a visit with Sister Deloris Marie, expecting, I’m sure, to hear she had a grave sinner for a daughter. I feared that intervention, knowing that had I done even one teensy thing wrong, my kick-the-can days would be over. Things must have gone well because neither my mother nor Sister tortured me after that conversation.

Unlike Mom, some parents turn a deaf ear to complaints of their kiddos’ bad behavior. One of the most bothersome Biblical stories about ignoring the children’s sin involves the high priest and judge, Eli, and his two scoundrel sons and fellow priests, Hophni and Phinehas. In 1 Samuel we read the dastardly duo stole money from the offering and slept with women who served outside the sanctuary.

Eli confronted his boys. “What’s going on here? Why are you doing these things? I hear story after story of your corrupt and evil carrying on. Oh, my sons, this is not right! These are terrible reports I’m getting, stories spreading right and left among God’s people!”

At this point, I expect to read that Eli responded the way my mom would have, had she been alive in 1100 B.C. You know, like take away his sons’ camels for a week or force them to repay the treasury by sheering a few extra sheep or demote them from temple priests to keepers of the doves. Nope.

He does nothing.

So, God does. His message—“Judgment is coming because you refused to discipline your sons”– cannot be misinterpreted. Who of us wouldn’t be on our knees begging God for a second chance to do the right thing and discipline our children? Not Eli. His comment? “He is God. Let him do whatever he thinks best.”

Get a donkey prod for this guy! These are his heirs, his flesh and blood, and he doesn’t have the gumption to beg God for mercy! What is wrong with this man? This is no slap-on-the-wrist correction. God even directs a prophet to tell Eli that his sons both will die on the same day. Read 1 Samuel 4:10-18. The father dies a few hours after his sons. It is a discipline that never needed to happen, had Eli parented like his kids mattered…

which, of course, makes me appreciate a mother who cared enough never to let me get away with anything. Thankfully, she saved God a lot of time making His point.

Micromanaging Children by Patty LaRoche

Why is it that we try and keep from our kids the very thing that made us successful, our failures.” (anonymous)

You obsess over your child’s homework. And his diet, as if a hotdog for breakfast will doom him to a life of obesity. You interfere in childish skirmishes and insist your little angel is right, even if six witnesses disagree. You expect at least three phone calls a day when Princess enters adulthood. And every time Bubba loses a job or a wife, the Welcome Home banner is draped across the threshold of his childhood home where his clean bedsheets await.

Helicopter parents, hovering to micro-manage, please stop!

Many of this generation are babied, protected and entitled because the only location good enough for them is Easy Street. My plea to you is simple: Let your children struggle. Stop masking your kids’ mistakes by refusing to allow them to suffer consequences for their behavior. In my day (yes, when dinosaurs roamed the earth), parents believed their role was to grow independent children. Taking a few knocks was part of that process. No more.

Drake, my grandson, holds the local high school record for being penalized during his basketball practices this year.

Failure to bring tennis shoes? Run a few sets of stairs.

Being late? More stair laps.

Forgetting tennis shoes AGAIN? Add more laps.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

When it became apparent Drake had mastered the stairs but failed to elicit the desired rehabilitation, he was assigned the towel drill. Placing his hands on a towel on the floor, he ran from one side of the gym to the other in that bent position. In fact, he performed that drill so many times, when baseball season rolled around, he was the best-conditioned player on the team.

His parents laughed with each escapade. It never crossed their minds to complain or to rush to school with that forgotten pair of tennis shoes to cover for their child or to ask for a private meeting with Coach Young. Yea, them.

Recently, Fort Scott celebrated when eight wounded veterans caravanned through town. School children were given an opportunity to be dismissed from class so they could wave flags and cheer for the soldiers. They, like many of the rest of us, came together and showed our appreciation for those who fought to give us the freedoms we all share.

One mother felt differently. She was livid that her young child had to stand in the rain waiting for the caravan to arrive and drove to the site where his classmates were waiting, insisting he get in the car while she berated the adults who were there with the other kids.

Really? REALLY? I wonder if it dawned on her that those soldiers probably spent more than a little time in the rain, protecting our homeland. What message did she give her child about honoring the real heroes of our nation? (Not to mention, for goodness sakes, when we were little, we played in the rain.)

In the book Weird, author Craig Groeschel reminds us that our greatest priority as parents is to gradually transfer our children’s dependence away from us until it rests solely on God. To raise boys and girls who do not idolize their dads and moms; instead, they honor the only One who truly knows what is best for their lives…which probably includes not a few lessons about consequences.

Helicopter parents, please let God be God. Land that runaway plane of interference, turn off your blades of privilege and let your children’s failures be their lessons. Before it’s too late.