Thursday, June 04, 2015

The Curious Case of Benjamin Daniel, Part Two

The tribe of Benjamin was known as a tribe of warriors, who fought with their left hand in order to throw their enemies off balance and were skilled archers.   They were known for their willingness to defend their people, but also for their pugnacious nature.  We wanted a middle name to balance out that name and bring some wisdom to our little warrior.  That's when we started to consider the name Daniel. In the Old Testament, Daniel is well known for his wisdom and righteousness. In the book of Daniel (chapter 2) he is described as handling a situation with “tact” – or in some translations, “prudence.”  We thought that the two names worked well together, and our wish for our Benjamin Daniel is that he would always be willing to fight for what is right, but that he would also know that sometimes the best way to win a battle is with your wit.

Giving Ben the middle name of Daniel was also a good way to honor an important man in my life - my grandpa Dan. Dan was not my grandfather biologically - my grandmother married him when I was five years old after being widowed. But he was a grandfather in my heart, and he always treated me as such.  

He was a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War. His story from that time is not mine to tell, but what he went through was enough to turn any man bitter. However, I never knew him as a man with a trace of anything but love in his heart. He was a good man, he was one of the strongest men I ever knew, and I am proud to pass his name on to my son.
One story comes to mind when I think about my grandpa Dan.  It may seem rather mundane, but I think it shows what kind of man he was.  It starts when I was about eight years old and sitting at the table in my grandma’s house with grandpa Dan, eating a peanut butter sandwich.  Although I’m sure my poor mother tried valiantly to get me to eat my sandwich crusts, I still would not eat them if I thought I could get away with it.  So there I sat, with the crusts resting on my plate.  Dan noticed this and said, “Aren't you going to finish your sandwich?”  I said, “I don’t eat the crusts.”  I will never forget the look on his face when I said that.  He looked like it pained him to hear me say that.  Then, without a word, he reached over, grabbed my crusts, and shoved them in his mouth.  I was quite surprised by this!  I said, “Grandpa, you didn't have to do that!”  To which he replied with words that forever changed the way I look at things:
“You don’t know what it’s like to be hungry.” 

And from that point on, I always ate the crusts of my sandwiches.  I've always remembered that story as a great lesson in how the best way to lead is by example.  And that’s what he always tried to do.  I hope that my son, who carries his name, will have the same quiet strength that Grandpa Dan had.

1 comment:

Vicky said...

Loved this story!