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The true character of a person

I have often heard a great indicator of a person’s character is how one treats those who one has some charge over, even if it’s temporary such as a waiter in a restaurant or store clerk. I would go on to say it applies to how one treats the aging, children or any powerless or helpless person or group.

It’s been more than eleven years ago when I received a phone call, out of the blue and heard this booming voice greet me with a pleasant “How is your day going? This is Michael Blackwell with Baptist Children’s Homes.”

While Dr. Blackwell and I had never met, we had many mutual friends and, unbeknownst to me, he had already vetted me for a position that was open at Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH).

What Dr. Blackwell did not know at the time was that I had been praying for a new opportunity to use my skills and knowledge in the childcare field while combining them with Christian service. Was this an answer to prayer? I was definitely intrigued by the possibilities.

We hit it off after my first one-on-one interview at the Shoney’s in West Asheville. I was impressed with his kindness to me, and to the waitress, as well as his genuine curiosity about my family and faith. Before the evening was over, we decided to take it a step further. Several long weeks passed before my family and I accepted an invitation to visit Mills Home in Thomasville and spend some time with Dr. and Mrs. Blackwell and some key staff members.

My wife, Donna, and I arrived on campus with two young and energetic boys in tow –– six-year-old Joshua and Joseph who just turned five. Our first stop that evening was a visit with Dr. Blackwell at his office. In my mind, I thought this would be a casual introduction of Donna and the boys and there would be a few minutes of light chit-chat before we either called it a night or Dr. Blackwell and I would begin discussing the new position while my family slipped back to our overnight accommodations. Nope, that didn’t happen.

I quickly learned I was probably not needed for this particular meeting. Dr. Blackwell turned his attention to Joshua and Joseph. The trio began a discussion about school, things they loved doing, and an especially long conversation ensued about which version of the bible was best and most accurate. I’m not sure the issue was completely settled, but Dr. Blackwell and Joshua seemed to agree on at least some of the major points of translation and etymology.

It was then I knew my family had landed in the right place. I experienced first-hand that children were important to Dr. Blackwell. Children were more important than time, more important than the position I was interviewing for, and more important than the two of us. Dr. Blackwell made my sons feel very special that evening. He made them feel they were something of worth. That night, I saw the true character of the man.

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