Keeping Things in Perpsective

In Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, Launcelot observes: “It is a wise father that knows his own child.”

I admit it has been a while since my last blog, so I thought I had better take a moment to update what I have been up to. As far as writing goes, I am trying to have my second book ready to publish by this fall. The working title is Lamps and Lenses. I will add updates to the website as I get farther along. Unfortunately, my limited writing time has been devoted to the new novel, and as a result, I haven’t been able to regularly add postings to the website, but I felt I needed to share some of my experiences from the last few weeks.

Science Fair 2012

Science Fair 2012

Since my last blog post in November, I have stayed busy coaching my 12-year-old son’s Jr. Jazz basketball team. I was also asked to step in and coach my 16-year-old son’s Jr. Jazz basketball team for the second half of the season. (Might I just add that although there were 13 boys on my older son’s team, sadly, there were only three other parents who attended every game.) I also had the privilege of helping my 11-year-old daughter perform an experiment for the school science fair, and  I have enjoyed going on a few training runs with my oldest daughter when she is home from college as we are preparing to run a half-marathon together in April.

Yesterday, one of those moments occurred that make you so grateful to be a parent and glad that I made an effort to be there to support my children. The boys were playing in a church basketball tournament. It was single-elimination, but our boys’ team won their 1:00 and 3:40 games, so they ended up in the championship game at 5:00. Although the opposing team was impressive, with three high school boys who were tall and talented, our team led most of the game, but began to falter down the stretch. With only 15 seconds left in the game, we found ourselves down by 7 points. My older son took the inbounds pass and raced down the floor, pulling up at the top of the key and swishing a three-pointer. As he was running back on defense, the other team attempted to throw the ball down court, and he intercepted the pass. He promptly dribbled across half-court, and in Jimmer fashion, launched another three-pointer from just beyond NBA range. It banked in, so now their team was down by only 1 point with 2 seconds left. Despite a valiant effort, they were unable to score again and ended up losing by the one point. However, my older son finished the championship game with 26 points, and a near comeback at the end of the game. That kind of experience makes you grateful for the hours you spend teaching and working with your children in the driveway and gym, and even though they lost, it was a wonderful and rewarding way to spend a Saturday afternoon. The same could be said when your children play in an orchestra concert, or act in the school play, or even display their art in a gallery.

The French philosopher Montaigne wrote that as our children grow and mature, so should our capacity to show our love for them. “It is very often the reverse,” he wrote, “and most commonly we feel more excited over the … infantile tricks of our children than we do later over their grown-up actions.” (A Moment’s Pause from the Spoken Word, by J. Spencer Kinard, Deseret Book, 1989)

Lastly, Larry H. Miller, self-made billionaire, philanthropist, and owner of the Utah Jazz, wrote in his autobiography: “If there is one thing I’d do differently – only one – it’s this: I would have been there for the Little League games and the scraped knees and the back-to-school nights.”


Last year, my wife approached me and told me that although she enjoys my writing and appreciates my diligence in providing for our family, she asked me to please keep things in perspective. I am not a perfect parent, and even though a parent’s influence may wane as children become teenagers, I am trying to be there for all the important events in my children’s lives. As a result, writing is currently only about fifth or sixth on my list of priorities, so please be patient with the next book. Perhaps six years from now when the children are all off to college and we find ourselves with an empty nest, my allotted writing time may increase, but for now, the Jr. Jazz games and science fair projects come first.

© Copyright 2013 Jeff, All rights Reserved. Written For: Jeffrey Olsen
family, Writing

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