A tough man who was good, And A good man who was tough!

Courage runs deep with me. It started with a wise father who lived that lesson himself. John W. Carter Sr. had GUTS. Real guts and he taught me.  So this is a personal story about where GUTS comes from. You may find it interesting and helpful to you. So, read on.

   I remember when I was a young boy a whole gang of boys came after me on bicycles and knocked me off my bike. I was on my way home after little league football practice. They hit me, spit on me, ridiculed me and humiliated me. Most were older boys and I didn’t stand a chance against them all. There were 20 or more.

bullying

     After I was thoroughly distraught and crying, I guess they thought they had enough fun and let me go. But then, as I rode off on my bike; they changed their mind. And in an old gravel parking lot, they knocked me down again and continued with another session of terrifying and tormenting me.

gang of bullies

      My world literally seemed ended. As a child, I was horror stricken to be so despicably used by a gang of boys, I would still have to face every day at school. I knew I would be branded as a coward.

Then a wonderful thing happened, right in the middle of my torture. I saw from the ground my father’s old tree climbing station-wagon drive around the corner at the Old Amazon Cotton Mill. My dad wondered why I didn’t make it home and came to check on me.

      I was thrilled. My heart skipped with joy. I repeatedly said to myself, Here comes the rescue squad! Here comes the rescue squad! As my father pulled his vehicle over beside the curb. You have never seen a bunch of boys scatter, as fast as those boys did from the tight knit circle around me. My dad looked like a Mountain coming out of the vehicle and he was obviously in no mood to play.

      He dared the boys to move and slowly took off his belt. As he did this, I was saying Yahoo, inside. Then he asked me, which boy was it that had beat me up! Well, it had been several of them. But I picked the biggest, oldest and meanest who had been the most cruel to me. I looked at the gang leader and said “it was him dad”! I was elated to point him out to my father. Then unexpectedly, My father turned his steel-blue eyes to mine and said son; Do you want to fight him or me??? And he wasn’t kidding…  My delight turned fast, to resolve. Cause I knew my dad wasn’t kidding and if I had to pick between that grade school ruffian and my father; then my choice was clear. Let me at him! At least it would be one on one, now.

     And so I jumped on the bigger, older boy. Everybody claimed he won the fight, because of my bloody nose. All I know is that my father finally stopped the fight, when it seemed I had the better hand of the boy and my dad felt it necessary to pull me off the top of him.

       So, On a day when my little world would have been shattered. My dignity was restored. By teaching me to fight for myself and making me face my own challenges; my father did far more for me than he could have by coming to my aid and rescuing me.

self preservation

     Instead of looking at my shoes in shame the next day at school; I held my head high. My father had helped me earn self-respect and the respect of the other boys. I never forgot that lesson. It serves me well, even today. I guess that lesson is the core of why I title this BEAM (blog) GutsIsTheKey. I feel that it is one of the most important lessons in life.

Courage

     I guess GUTS is not a pretty word. It reminds us of a part of us, nobody but doctor’s want to see. Yet, no part of us is more important than our insides. They make us tick. No GUTS. No life. May not sound pretty but it’s the truth.

     And then there is this colloquial connotation of

GUTS being equal to courage. I remember in the

Patton movie, with George C. Scott (telling my age).

He announced to the soldiers: “With your blood

and my GUTS, I will conquer Europe.” Funny thing

though, that didn’t go over very well. People didn’t

like that. I suppose they like it better when we talk

about our own blood, when we mention the word

courage & GUTS.

Heather's Courage Picture 1

     That was the kind of man my father was. He

demonstrated courage, with his own GUTS.

Growing up, my father was a man’s, man; in a

world where men were still tough. There were no

metro-men back then. I can remember the strongest

of these great World War II era men; telling me

about my dad. They would say said; Your dad has

(you guessed it)…… GUTS.

     I remember after climbing trees to cut them

Dad would be bleeding, from where the steel hooks

dug in his legs. I would have never known this, had

I not saw him undress. He was tough and did not

seem to notice pain. Or at least, he didn’t mention

it.

     I remember the bully’s dad coming to my house

to whip my dad, after my dad made me fight his

boy to take up for myself. Yet, The man had second

thoughts after he met my dad face to face. He

decided my dad was right, in his unconventional

methods. My dad was tough. And everybody knew

it.

My hero, my father, John Woodard Carter, Sr.

My hero, my father, John Woodard Carter, Sr.

     Some people are tough, some times. Dad was

tough all the time. I remember dad working 3

jobs to make his dreams come true. He worked

when other men played. My dad was tough daily

and relentlessly.

     But the toughness I remember most was how

fair my dad was, how he would take up for the

underdog, how he would defend the little guy

and how he knew no prejudice. He would give you a

chance, even if everybody else said you were bad.

He made his own evaluations of people from his own

experiences. Yet though dad was merciful, he would

whip the preacher’s behind, if he caught him

lying, [literally – another story :)]. Yeah, my dad was

tough but more than that; he had GUTS.

Guts 2

     How is GUTS more than tough? There was a John

Wayne move called True Grit. My brother has said

that’s what dad had. I think he is right.

John Wayne - An American Icon and "True Grit"

John Wayne – An American Icon and “True Grit”

     GUTS may not be a pretty word but you

can’t live without them. And that’s what I think my

dad had. True Grit, GUTS, the stuff that makes

tough men good, and good men, tough. 

I remember being alone with my father after cancer surgery in the middle of the night at Duke University Center. His surgery went awry and because of internal bleeding, he literally swelled up twice his size. I called in the doctors and nurses. They could not get blood in him, as fast as he was losing it.  At one moment, when the room was emptied as the doctors readied an operation room, for a second emergency surgery; I knew they would never operate on my father in time.  I asked my father if I could pray with him. There in the stillness of the night, my father spoke aloud the 23rd Psalm. I did not know that he knew that passage. Certainly did not know that he knew it by heart. Until he spoke it with conviction in that moment, dangling between life and death.  

As my father prayed, I could feel the angelic host come in the hospital room. I could literally see the light lumens in the room brighten. My father, suddenly and unexplainably stopped bleeding without the 2nd surgery that he would have never survived, and this happened at that very moment.  My dad had divine courage. The kind of courage that can only come from God. He taught me this.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

     I thank God for a great father, who taught me

the meaning of courage in many, many ways.  I pray this prayer twice

every day.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change;

the courage to change the things I can

and the wisdom to know the difference.”

John W. Carter Sr. would be proud to see the courage I have in

my daily life today…….. I think.

2012 Karate Plaque

FoothillsKarateClassic

 

Slam image!

I can be contacted at 336-688-7538 for speaking engagements. Leave a message and I will get back with you!

 

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About timothygrantcarter

Inspirational Speaker, Sales Trainer, Quaker Minister. Entrepreneur, Outdoorsman and Shotokan NiDan. . Visionary; Maker of original sayings, slogans and giver of spiritual help. "If God has a pulse, then I can feel it."
This entry was posted in Face Page, Faith & Inspiration, GUTS - What is it?, People with GUTS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A tough man who was good, And A good man who was tough!

  1. WOW! This story was written from the heart, and it brought me to tears. When we live lives that are rich in service and meaning, then even a story about how we lived–years after we are gone–can change other lives for the better. Thank you for sharing, SLAM, and thanks to your Dad, John Woodard Carter for living a life worth writing about!

    • Margo, I must express thanks and gratitude for the wonderful parents I had. Mary “Louise” Carter, and John Woodard Carter Sr. So much of who I am today is wrapped up in their example and love. Thanks for your kind comments Margo!! You are an awesome friend and incredible Christian business leader.

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