On March 6th, I was asked to make a few welcoming remarks at Bynum Blooms, an event supporting Will’s school. I was also delighted to meet Coach Jason Garrett, along with some of the brilliant students of Bynum School. Coach quizzed them about the jersey numbers of various Cowboys players, and the students rattled them off, all correct! Coach Garrett was impressed, and so was I!
Anyway, here are my remarks, which include a brief story from the book. I hope I offered back a small portion of the blessing Bynum School has imparted to our family…
Good morning, and welcome to the Midland Country Club, and the fifteenth annual Bynum Blooms event, supporting Bynum School. My name is Clark Moreland, and I am the parent of a student at Bynum, Will Moreland.
I’m afraid I must begin on a note of regret. I have to leave in a few minutes to teach a class at the university, which saddens me, not only because I will be unable to enjoy the wonderful lunch prepared for us today, but also because, as a long-suffering Dallas Cowboys fan, I will miss out on the opportunity to interrogate Coach Garrett and express my deep-seated concerns about the future of the franchise. No, in all seriousness, we are honored by the presence today of Coach Jason Garrett. Thank you for your support of Bynum School, Coach. And as for my concerns, I’m sure the rest of you will fulfill that obligation for me.
Now, as I mentioned, my son Will is a student at Bynum. He is eleven years old, and he has Down syndrome. If you have never met Will, you might imagine him to be sweet, docile, passive, and that term commonly tossed around to describe children like him, angelic. But if Will is an angel, he’s more like the angels of the Bible, like Michael for instance. William is a fighter. He is the toughest person I know. He’d make one heck of a linebacker, Coach Garrett. Keep your eye on him. Despite this admirable quality, though, I admit that his vast reserves of stubbornness often go far deeper than my patience.
In the book that I published last month about Will, I describe such a moment with my aptly named son. It was August of 2016, and Bynum School was breaking ground at their new location on Avalon Avenue. The evening before the groundbreaking, the most unexpected thing happened, at least for us West Texans: it rained, leaving behind a rainbow above our heads, and muddy clay below our feet.
Thankfully, the rain stopped long enough that morning to allow the event to continue. Will Abney, Former Secretary of Commerce Don Evans, Dick Campbell, and school administrators stood at the front with the guest of honor, our beloved Kara Claxton. As I was listening to Secretary Evans speak about the importance of Bynum School to our region, I noticed that all of the students in attendance were grasping tiny toy shovels, anxiously waiting to join the adults in the fun.
William sat quietly and respectfully for most of the ceremony. But eventually, he gave in to temptation. You see, Will has some West Texas farmer blood running through him, and it was only a matter of time before he was going to get down on his knees, and stick his hands in the dirt. I was okay with that, until he began dumping huge clumps of mud on to the shoes of the gentleman sitting in front of him. They were awfully nice shoes.
I went to stop Will, but he looked squarely at me, and without taking his eyes off mine, he kept digging. I turned and apologized to the man, but he kindly replied, “It’s okay, he’s just breaking ground too!”
If only that man knew. If only he knew how much ground William has broken as a student at Bynum School.
You know, when I think about William’s hard-headedness, I think he may not be all that different from the rest of us. West Texans are known for our persistence, aren’t we? On scorching, cloudless days, we plant seed. When everyone says a field is tapped out, we drill. And when there isn’t anything else to give, we give. Thanks to the diligence and dare I say stubbornness of parents, teachers, donors, and area foundations, this school raised twenty million dollars to fund a new, state-of-the-art campus in the midst of a severe downturn in the energy industry. That’s what West Texans do: when times are good, we give, and when times are bad, we dig into our pockets, and we give more. And I’m here to say thank you for doing that.
So often with William, my wife Carrie and I feel helpless as he gets stuck on a concept or falls into a bad habit. Most days, he’s as impenetrable as West Texas caliche. But every once in a while, the rain falls and softens the dirt just enough to break through. And the joy of those moments is indescribable. All I can say is, it’s worth it.
So keep digging, friends. Keep digging, Bynum teachers. Keep digging, parents of children like Will. And most of all, keep digging, Bynum students. Keep digging even when the ground is so caked and hard that it seems you’ll never break through. “Perseverance [produces] character,” the apostle Paul wrote, and character produces hope. And “hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts” (Rom. 5:5 NIV).
Put another way, the deeper we dig, the more hope blooms.
Welcome, everyone, to Bynum Blooms.