A Father’s Day Story

In Brooklyn, New York, there is a school that caters to learning disabled children. Some children remain there for their entire school career, while others can be mainstreamed into conventional schools. At the school's annual fundraising dinner, the father of a child at school there delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended the dinner.

After praising the school and its dedicated staff, the father cried out, "Where is the perfection in my son Jacob? Everything God does is done with perfection; but my child cannot understand things as other children do. My child cannot remember facts and figures as other children do. Where is God's perfection? The audience was shocked by the question, pained by the father's anguish, and stilled by the piercing question. The father continued, "I believe that when God brings a child like mine into the world, the perfection that God seeks is in the way people react to this child."

He then told the following story about his son Jacob: One afternoon, Jacob and his father walked past a park where some boys Jacob knew were playing baseball. Jacob asked his father, "Do you think they will let me play?" Jacob's father knew his son was not at all athletic, and that most boys would never want him on their team. But he also understood that if his son were allowed to play it would give his son a wonderful sense of belonging. So the dad approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Jacob could play. The boy looked around for advice from his teammates.

Getting none, the boy took matters into his own hands and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning, I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him to bat in the ninth inning." Jacob's father was grateful and Jacob himself smiled broadly. He was told to take a glove and play short center field. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Jacob's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Jacob's team scored again and now with two outs and the bases loaded, Jacob was scheduled to bat.

But would the team actually let him bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Jacob was handed the bat. Everyone knew it was all but impossible because Jacob didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, let alone hit with it. But as Jacob stepped up to the plate, the opposing team's pitcher moved a few steps closer to lob the ball in softly. The first pitch came and Jacob swung and missed badly. Then one of Jacob's teammates came up to Jacob and together they held the bat waiting for the next pitch. Again, the pitcher stepped even closer to lob the ball softly. As the pitch arrived, Jacob and his teammate swung and together they hit a slow grounder to the pitcher. The pitcher fielded the ball and could easily have thrown it to the first baseman. Jacob would have been out and the game would have ended.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball on a high arc toward right field, far beyond the first baseman's reach. Everyone started yelling, "Jacob, run to first base, run to first base!" Never in his life had Jacob run to first base; he scampered down the baseline wide-eyed and startled. By the time he reached first base, the right fielder had retrieved the ball; he could have thrown it to the second baseman who would then tag out Jacob, who was still running. But the right fielder had understood the pitcher's intentions so he also threw the ball high and far over the infielders. Everyone kept yelling, "Jacob, run to second, run to second!" As Jacob reached second base, the opposing shortstop turned him in the direction of third base and shouted, "Run to third!" As Jacob rounded third base, the boys from both teams ran behind him screaming, "Jacob, run home!"

Jacob ran all the way to home plate, stomped on it with both his feet and the biggest smile in the world. Then all eighteen players lifted him on their shoulders making him their hero. He had just hit a "grand slam" and won the game for his team.

"That day," Jacob's father said softly, with tears running down his face, "that day, those eighteen boys reached their level of God's perfection." HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!

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