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Prayers for a Team Player

Even now with children all grown up, the prayers continue.

Rick Hamlin's son, far left in green pants, with the LinkedIn team in India

“Please, God, let him make the team.” 

I can’t tell you how many times when my two boys were young I would say some variation of this prayer: “Please, God, let him catch that ball when it comes to him in the outfield.” “Please, God, let him get just one hit this game.”

“Please, God, let him get a good enough grade on today’s math test so that I won’t have to try to explain long division anymore.” “Please, God, let him get a part in the school play.” “Please, God, make sure there’s at least one nice kid to talk to him at his new school.”

And on it goes. You would have thought my two sons were disasters in class or on the playground. They did well–socially, academically, athletically, creatively.

But I always felt better to see them make a friend or get a nice comment from a teacher or catch that ball. Some marker of success, some sign they would do okay when I wasn’t around.  

Even now with them all grown up, the prayers continue. I pray that my two boys find just the right girlfriends and the right jobs and the right avenue for their careers and the right road to happiness and spiritual fulfillment.  

I trust that God never tires of it. Like any dad, he must understand. But it’s like I’m still praying, Please, God, let them make the team.

Just the other day, my older son, Will, emailed me from India. He’d gone there to meet the team he works with in his job at LinkedIn. He needed to connect with them one-on-one, face-to-face. 

In the back of my mind I guess I wondered how his meetings were going and how he felt and if the whole thing wasn’t completely overwhelming. Ah, the ever worried dad. 

That’s why I was so delighted to get the photo he sent us (see above), a picture of him with his team in India.

Will is on the far left, in the green pants.  What a wonderful, goofy, fun, creative, hard-working group they seem to be. This answered prayer was better than any base hit. It was a total home run. How could a parent be so lucky?

“Thank you, God,” I could say, “for putting me and my wife on my sons’ team. Thank you for all they’ve taught us.”  

Of all parents’ prayers, the best ones, the ones I try to never forget are these of constant, heartfelt, tearful gratitude. 

How did my boys ever turn out so great? It was certainly nothing I ever did, sitting there on the bench, biting my fingers, urging God to let them catch just one fly ball. How grateful I am, stunningly grateful. 

PS: Will has even taken to writing a blog. You can read it here.

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