Thursday, April 15, 2004

Our Entrepreneur

“And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward…..” ~ Colossians 3:23,24

“Doing your own thing is a generous act. Being gifted creates obligations, which means you owe the world your best effort at the work you love. You too are a natural resource.”

~ Barbara Sher (1795 - 1881) Scottish essayist, historian

Ever since our son Josh was a little boy, he’s been talking about what he wanted to be when he grew up – everything from jumping out of airplanes to being in the circus. “I’ll have a buddy who will tie me up and see if I can get out,” he’d say.

One day when he was about four or five years old, he decided he wanted to try to earn money as a bed maker. “If you want to, you have to sign up with me and pay me,” he explained. I guess he figured that would be a service everyone could use. He even knocked on a few doors around our neighborhood, but when he didn’t have any takers, he was so dejected he laid his head on his daddy’s chest for the longest time. When his older brother Jared walked in the room and proceeded to tell his dad what happened, Josh blurted out, “I know Jared! Don’t make me thadder!”

Another time he told me he was going to have a stand that sold things for Halloween. Then when Halloween was over, he would sell Christmas things, and in the summer he would change it into a fruit stand.

One day Josh asked whether you get paid money for being a dad. I said, “No, you become a dad when you have children and you work at a job to earn money.” Then I asked him if he was going to have kids when he grew up (despite the fact that he wouldn’t get paid for it).

“Yep,” he answered. “Two. Cindy and Lucy. Cindy will be the girl and Lucy will be a boy.”

Here are a few other examples from a journal I kept when Josh was growing up.

“I can’t wait until I’m in high school so I can take daddy’s place in the trash truck. But he’ll have to teach me how to drive it and tell me what all the parts are so when one breaks apart I’ll know which one to buy to fix it. He’ll have to teach me how to use everything in the shop, too. But I don’t have to go to college to learn how to be a trash man – Dad can just teach me how.”


“Mom, you know what I’m gonna be when I grow up? A showfolk.”


“I might go to the Air Force with Jared or whatever job he goes to I might go with him. I’d move into a huge house right next to him so we’d be neighbors. I’d move when he moves. I’ll know when he’s moving when I see a For Sale sign in the yard.”


“I want to be an artist and be rich and I’ll give you guys some money. Maybe one or two bucks, if I make that much. I’ll ride around on my motorcycle selling my pictures. But I won’t just sell pictures; I’ll sell crayons, markers, paints, paint brushes and paper.”


“There are so many jobs I just don’t know which one to choose.” I told him he just had to be a kid now and he won’t have to decide for a long time.

Well, a long time has passed and Josh isn’t a kid any more – on April 15, he’ll celebrate his 23rd birthday. After weighing all the possibilities, Josh finally settled on becoming a doctor. Here’s an excerpt from a letter he wrote describing his first few weeks at medical school:

In the morning, a faculty person and an M2 (second year medical student) both talked about the reason why we are here. Not the grades or the glory, but for the patients – the patients at the KU hospital now and the patients we will see ourselves in the future. They said that although the grades are important, the real reason we are here is to know, understand, and be able to remember and use the information we learn to provide the best treatment that we can— and that the patients are the greatest teachers that we have. Our professors can teach us about the science of medicine, but only the patients can really teach us the ‘art’ of medicine.
They really seem to have a lot of respect for the patients and the whole healthcare team. They talked a lot about being respectful of the entire healthcare staff like nurses and physical therapists, and pharmacists and CNA's. One student said: “Respect those nurses because they WILL know stuff that you won’t because they have different training than you do, and rely on them because they are well-trained professionals.” I was really glad to hear that they focus so much on respecting nurses, especially since Lisa will be a nurse soon. I know she was happy to hear this when I told her about my day.

It was great having you, dad, and Kirk over the other night – Lisa and I loved it. Maybe we can do it again and take you guys out around KC.



Before I conclude this birthday tribute to Josh, I have to write about what a loving son he has always been. One night when he was almost five years old, I attended a Christmas Cantata at a church in Alma. When I came home, all the boys were asleep with the exception of Josh. He said, “Me and Jared missed you, Mom.” Then he started whispering, “Jared, Jared.” When I asked him what he was doing he said, “I want to tell Jared you’re home.” Keen said I had only been gone a few minutes when they were both asking, “Where’s Mommy? When will Mommy be home?”

Some of his other memorable remarks were:
“Mom, you know how much I love you? One hundred per cent!”
“Mom, you’re the best mom I ever had”
“I love you with all my love.”

One day he was heading off to kindergarten and as he walked out the door he turned around to blow me a kiss. So I kissed him and said, “Josh, you are the sweetest, kindest, most loveable boy in the whole world.” He replied, “I’m just filled with love!”

I’d like to close with a poem Josh wrote for Keen and me when he was a 17-year-old high school senior, living on his own in Manhattan.

I can't pay you for the things you do
All the milk and cleaning too

When I'm at my worst
You're always there to hug me tight
Then share with me your wisdom
And lead me back to your light

I know it wasn't easy for you to let me go
My how God blessed us so
He's given us the courage to try something new
And through it all, HIS strength has shown through

To be loved by you is such a wonderful thing
You'll never know, how much joy, to me, it brings
I wish DAD the best of luck in Law School
And pray MOM'S book will be a best seller

But no matter what you'll always be the best parents in the whole wide world.

The end



On your birthday, Josh, we thank God for blessing us with the wonder of you. It’s been our privilege to watch you grow from a young boy into such a fine man and loving husband. We know that those whose lives you touch will be equally blessed by your special gifts.

“Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling …that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

~ II Thessalonians 1:11, 12 (NKJV)

With all our love,

Mom & Dad

P.S. This is something I wrote last year for Josh’s 22nd birthday

Just Yesterday

Our second-born son just turned twenty-two
Could that be possible? Could that be true?

Didn’t he just learn how to walk?
Didn’t he just learn how to talk?
Wasn’t he just in his pre-school play?

Wasn’t that just yesterday?

Didn’t he just lose his front tooth?
Didn’t he just make friends with Travis Guth?
Didn’t he just celebrate his 8th birthday?

Wasn’t that just yesterday?

Didn’t he just learn how to ride a bike?
Didn’t his dad and brothers just build their own kite?
Didn’t he just get his license last May?

Wasn’t that just yesterday?

Now he’s graduating from college and off to med school
And in July he’ll marry his precious jewel

Didn’t we just bring him home from the hospital that day?

Wasn’t that just yesterday?

Joshua Jim Umbehr
Born April 15, 1981