It was little more than a year ago that my husband’s beloved basketball coach, University of North Carolina’s legendary Dean Smith, passed away. News of his former coach’s death brought a few tears. It’s been more than forty years since graduation. Yet David says that next to his own father, Smith was the most significant man in his life. He’s not alone. Even superstar Michael Jordan called Smith his “second father.”
Now for the record, I did not attend Carolina like my basketball player-turned-preacher husband. Decades ago, when we first met, I was a University of Georgia grad and a die hard football fan. Basketball, not so much.
But I loved my husband, and I actually grew to love basketball. And it was hard not to become a fan of his beloved coach. Soon after we started dating, Coach Smith sent me a handwritten note essentially welcoming me to the “Carolina Family.” And when we became engaged, he sent us a gift and another handwritten note. After we married, we could expect a Christmas card each year with a few hand-written comments in Smith’s familiar scrawl. Coach Smith remembered my alma mater, my college major, and when children came, he knew each of their names. He always welcomed a visit from us or from any of his former lettermen and their families. Seriously. Who does that?
I was inspired by the public reaction to Coach Smith’s passing last year. It seemed to me that people expressed a yearning for honorable men like Coach Smith…for role models…and for dads. So I hastily wrote an editorial for our local paper. Coach Smith’s death, and more importantly, his life, inspired me to give a shout out to all the good guys in our lives. Click here to read the article.
David and I were blessed to have exceptionally good fathers who, like Coach Smith, cared more about their children (and players) than they did themselves. But good dads these days are hard to find. Perhaps we’ve brought it on ourselves. Just watch any television show. Dads are spoofed, maligned, caricatured, and generally disrespected. The message? It’s just not cool to be a good guy any more. If the same treatment were given to moms, you’d spark a revolt. Man-bashing, it would seem, is the new national sport.
I was surprised by the responses to my editorial. A prominent defense attorney in our community sent me a handwritten note, thanking me for writing on the subject of honor. His own dad, he shared, had been an amazing and honorable man. A federal judge and a former bank president weighed in on the subject of honor, as did the former head of our county’s Department of Social Services. Young moms wrote in to tell me what great husbands they had…and some shared that they wanted to be more intentional to honor their husbands.
And I wondered. Had I touched a nerve? Are we a culture that is thirsty for honor? Perhaps it’s because honor is lacking in many homes. Marriages are breaking up at an alarming rate. Some say that 70% of divorces are now initiated by women.
So when David and I were asked to write on the subject of honor in marriage, it just felt right. The companion books can be ordered now: Eight Great Ways to Honor Your Husband and Eight Great Ways to Honor Your Wife.
Our hope is that you will not only read the books, but also join in the conversation. Is it time to bring honor back? I wonder what would happen if together we sparked a movement of honor in our homes, our communities, and our culture. What do you think? Are we thirsty for honor?