Our family has a person who is a storehouse of information from the trivial to the substantive. Son Josh can tell us the location of Giant’s Causeway and the importance of the Straits of Malacca. He knows exactly how many NCAA regional games he and his dad have attended and how many times they’ve seen specific teams.
For example, this year, he says, “Bucknell will be the 97th different team we’ve seen play. The others we have all seen before: Marquette 4 times, Louisville 3 times, and all the others now twice.” Yes, he does keep records, but much of his knowledge comes straight from his memory.
Fortunately, he also uses that memory for spiritual matters. He has memorized quantities of scriptures; this helps him tremendously in preparing for his weekly Sunday class or his occasional sermons. He keeps a spiritual thoughts journal that he can go back to as needed to remind him of an insight that he’s jotted down. (This also helps me with buying him gifts, since a special leather-bound journal is always appreciated and used.)
When Josh was around eight or nine, we started a family Bible verse tradition when on car trips. We took turns saying a Bible verse each until someone couldn’t think of another one he or she had memorized. (I should confess here it was usually “she” because I didn’t know as many as Steve or Josh.) Each time, we tried to break the previous record for how many rounds we went.
And what was our standing record? I don’t know. Steve thinks 117; I think perhaps 157. I’m sure Josh remembers. All I know is that it sent me to studying Bible verses before each trip, especially brushing up on the references.
When Josh was in college, he went on a six-week mission trip to Ukraine. Upon his return, he visited the classroom of his fourth grade teacher and told the students about his trip. Afterward, she said to me, “He is a born teacher! Those kids hung on to every word. I hope he goes into teaching.”
And he did. He’s taught at Purdue University for 15 years and in 2010 received the Murphy Award. According to Purdue’s website, “The Murphy Award is given annually in recognition of outstanding teaching in all phases of undergraduate instruction at the West Lafayette campus. The University’s highest undergraduate teaching honor, the Murphy Award is accompanied by…induction into Purdue’s Teaching Academy, which provides leadership for the improvement of undergraduate, graduate, and outreach teaching.”
He is outreach deacon at Elmwood Church of Christ, a role that encompasses both local and worldwide evangelism. He’s been on about a dozen (he knows exactly) six-week mission trips, including Ukraine, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Fiji, and Brazil. He and his wife Gina are teaching their children to be mission-minded as well.
Above all, Josh has his head on straight. He puts God above all and family next. He makes professional decisions based on the needs of his wife and children. I am humbled that he is our son.