Happy 4th birthday Scooter (June 22)! I found 5 of my favorite pictures of us for your letter this year. I’ll admit, my eyes sweated just a bit as I looked back to June 2014 and saw how you have grown over these 4 years. It seems like yesterday, Nanna and I…along with a room full of others were patiently waiting for you to get here.
This has been another eventful year in our lives. You are growing into a wonderful big brother to Harper. It makes me so happy to see you loving on her and trying to take care of her. Don’t get me wrong…you have your moments with her, but for the most part you are doing what a big brother is supposed to do. Just this morning, when you saw Harper, you said, “Hi Harper. You are soooo cute!” I just love that.
You also became a cousin this year. Aunt Deeves and Knuckle Nate had a baby this year. From the first time you met Ellie, you were smitten. You call her Baby Ellie. In fact, we all call her Baby Ellie now. My guess is you will probably still call her Baby Ellie when she is 18 years old! You really love Harper and Baby Ellie — that makes me happy.
Whenever you see Poppo and Nanna these days, you want to know if we are going to do something FUN. Usually, the conversation goes something like this…”Poppo, let’s do something FUN.” “Like what Scooter?” “Well, I have an idea. Let’s go to the aquarium and see the sharks…or let’s go to Dollywood…or let’s go get pizza and play dinosaur games.” You have a list of things you like to do and you are always ready with an idea!
That brings me to something I want to talk about with you today. It’s one of the most important words you will ever hear…FAMILY. You are blessed with a family who loves you very much. Between Nanna and Poppo, Nonnie and Poppy and all the rest…I hope you realize just how much you are loved.
Family is important. In the Bible times, family was the most important part of life. If you wanted to understand society, you talked about family relationships. The ancient Hebrews spent much time sharing stories about family. We have lost some of that importance in our world today, but YOUR FAMILY — Vaughans and Hills — still believe that the most important thing in life is FAMILY.
Many people in the world today find their identity in what they do in life or where they live. There is a popular TV show today called Jeopardy. When they introduce the contestants on that show, they usually introduce them by telling where they are from and what they do. For example, if Poppo was to go on Jeopardy, they might say, “A Baptist preacher from Seymour, Tennessee.” We seem to boil people down to those two things in our world and I think that’s sad.
I want you to know that you are not defined by where you live or what you do, but who you are. And you are part of a FAMILY. The Bible paints a picture that teaches us that we are part of a family TREE. Each individual is a branch on that tree. As different members of the tree pass away, we are left with the leaves and branches of others who carry on the family tradition and family name.
Your Popple (my daddy), always taught me that the most important thing in life was your name. It didn’t matter how much money you made or what kind of car you drove…what mattered is what people thought about when they heard your name. When people hear your name — Hudson Keith Vaughan, I want them to think good thoughts. I want them to think of a person who treats all people the way he would want to be treated. I want them to think of a person who shares the love of Jesus by the way he talks and by the way he lives his life.
You are getting old enough now to begin to understand just how important family truly is. When you were born, I told you that no matter what you did or where you went, we would always love you — unconditionally. Families don’t always agree on everything, but at the end of the day I have learned that when the world turns its back on me, the people who stick by me are FAMILY. Don’t ever forget that.
I’m looking forward to many more adventures this year. There are some people who think I put too much emphasis on Nanna, my children and my grandchildren. They think I post too many pictures of you, Harper and Ellie on social media. You know what? I don’t care what they think. I believe that my greatest accomplishment in this life is my family. When I’m gone, I don’t want people to talk about my preaching or how I was as a pastor. I want them to remember one thing…Keith Vaughan loved his FAMILY.
A man who Poppo admired a lot was Menachem Begin. He was the Prime Minister of Israel. Here is something he said and I truly believe it’s true.
“Peace is the beauty of life. It is sunshine. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. It is the advancement of man, the victory of a just cause, the triumph of truth.”
I love you Scooter and I am so thankful to God that He made you a part of MY FAMILY. Happy birthday.