At the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924, the U.S. team was favored in the four-man canoe race. One member of that team was a young man by the name of Bill Havens. As the time for the Olympics neared, it became clear that Bill’s wife would give birth to her first child about the time that Bill was scheduled to complete.
So Bill found himself in a dilemma. Should he go to Paris and risk not being at his wife’s side when their first child was born? Or should he withdraw from the team and remain behind?
Bill’s wife insisted that he go to Paris. After all, he had been working toward this goal for many years; it would be the culmination of a lifelong dream. After much soul searching, Bill decided to withdraw from the competition and remain with his wife so that he could be with her when their first child arrived. Bill considered being at her side a higher priority than going to Paris to try to win an Olympic Gold medal.
The United States four-man canoe team won the gold medal at the Paris Olympics. But Bill had no regrets. His family was more important to him than the Olympics. Bill was present when his wife gave birth to their baby boy, whom they named Frank.
Twenty-eight years later, in 1952, Bill received a cablegram from Frank. It was sent from Helsinki, Finland, where the 1952 Olympics were being held. The cablegram read:
Thanks for waiting around for me to be born in 1924.
I’m coming home with the gold medal you should have won.
Your loving son,
Frank Havens was bringing home the Olympic gold medal for the 10,000-meter canoeing event. Now he wanted to share his medal with the one who set aside his own personal dreams for a higher priority: his son.
Establishing proper priorities ultimately brings the greatest rewards – like no regrets and deeper joys.
What are those “higher priorities” that need to be established in our lives? Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39).
Loving God supremely and loving others unselfishly—beginning with your family. These are the top priorities! And living by these priorities brings the greater blessings.
—David Sargent (adapted from Steve Goodier)
courtesy of House to House