No. 402

With all the real problems in the world today this seems so minor, but the past few weeks have been very sad days here at our home. Our good neighbors, Ron and Sylvia Burton, sold all of their laying hens and we don't get fresh eggs any more. We just have to go to the store and buy factory eggs like everybody else. As it relates to laying hens and eggs, I have a very interesting but true story, to share with you that I would like to use to illustrate a point. First, this question. Have you ever been in a position where you could watch a baby chick as it hatches? There is a process it goes through that in most cases will determine whether or not it will live.
As a baby chick matures and gets ready to come out of the shell, it puts pressure on the shell until it cracks just a little bit. Then over the next several hours, little by little it begins to come out of the shell. But it has to work to do it, which produces the strength it needs to survive the first few days of life. If you broke the shell for this chick, in most cases it would die. The same principle is true for our own children. As they begin to mature, we should teach them skills, values and character traits to become self-reliant and independent, so they will be able to survive and thrive later in life.
Now, keeping this thought or principle in mind, I want to tell you about a lady whose late father gave her something that is producing fruit till this very day. It's called influence. He influenced her to have compassion and love for others and this quality brings joy and happiness that many people in our country never experience. Several months ago I wrote a column about a special little restaurant in Russellville, Arkansas, by the name of Feltner's. Several weeks later I learned the column had gotten great response and many people had called or stopped by as a result of what I shared. You know, you can't beat good food, good people and reasonable prices. Feltner's has all of this and more.
Several weeks after the column ran I got to know Mr. Feltner's daughter, Missy Ellis, and we have e-mailed each other back and forth several times. Just before Christmas last year she sent me e-mail and told me about helping a needy family there in her community and it was all because of her father's influence. He has now been gone for over six years. With her permission I want to share this with you because it will touch your heart and may even cause many people to be inspired to do something special for others.
She begins, "I was really thinking about my dad this Christmas. He really loved being with his family and helping out people in need. One of the reasons I was thinking about him so much was a call I received the evening of the 23rd. A family was in need of help. The family consisted of a single mom and three year old triplet boys. I could hear my dad urging me to get busy, so I did. I stopped my cooking at 1AM on the 24th and headed to Wal-Mart. I knew he would buy everything they needed for Christmas, so I was off the clothes dept. First, I picked out the jogging suites, underwear, socks and pull-ups. Next, was the toy department. Three riding vehicles were a must and I found them with sounds and hats to match. I knew dad would want them to have a book apiece, so I got them interactive books.
On I went to the next stop, which were the stocking stuffers. I knew what he would have gotten them, so I got candy canes, chocolates, small trucks and cars. I couldn't forget mom, so I thought she needed a warm sweatshirt and a jewelry set. My shopping ended at 3 AM. I called the person that contacted me about this family and told them that Santa had arrived. It gave me great peace to do this for this family and all the time I was shopping, I could feel my dad there with me. The gifts were picked up the afternoon of the 24th and delivered to mom to put out for Christmas Eve night for Santa.
I've never gotten to meet this family, but they don't realize how much this also did for me. I received a wonderful sense of peace. I knew that just because my dad wasn't here in person, I knew he was watching over me. He taught me so many valuable lessons in life. He was always telling me that "I would give away my last penny to someone who needed it more than me." I watched him doing this all my life, helping so many people that were hungry, needed clothes, money and a friend. Jim, I hope you and your family have a blessed holiday season. Thank you, Missy. Your father did well. There is really nothing else I can add. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)