Our family traveled a lot years ago, singing on Sunday morning in churches in another states. Back in those days, when you attended church, you were expected to dress more formally than is accepted today. Therefore, this entailed having to pack suits, ties and dresses, along with ‘non-church clothes.’

As mom, Renie had always overseen our sons’ selections and the actual packing, making certain that they had what they would need, but when our oldest son was a teenager, the inevitable time came when he began to feel the need to be in total control of his destiny — to spread his fledgling wings and began to learn to fly on his own. So, when the time came to pack, he informed her, “Mom, I got this.”

Typical hovering mother bird of an inexperienced baby bird trying to leave the nest, Renie went back upstairs to remind him of a few things he would need on the trip. Indignantly ruffled feathers on weakly flapping wings, he responded, “MOM! I told you, I got this!” Hurt feelings and all, mom quietly returned to her own packing. Not reassured that he would have everything he would need, but resolved to let her baby bird learn to fly.

All went well on the trip with the family having fun together for a few days. Until Sunday morning. About 10 minutes before we were to open the service with a happy praise song, we looked around the auditorium … no Brian. Andy went to search the men’s rooms, while Renie scoured the public areas … no Brian.

So, we extended the search to outside, where we quickly found him. Sitting very quietly in the front passenger seat of our van, wearing the proper suit and tie. His rather irate Dad wanted to know what he thought he was doing, when Brian knew he needed to be in the auditorium ready to sing in just a few minutes. Brian never looked up. He simply extended one foot out the van door — a foot wearing his favorite bright red, high-top Chuck Converse Allstars. Of course, his mom asked the obvious, “Where are your dress shoes?” His shame-faced answer was, of course, “Back in my closet, I guess.”

He had no choice. He sang that morning with his red high-tops peeking out below his suit and tie. No big deal, and actually got quite a chuckle from the crowd that morning. However, it served as a reminder of how an attitude of rebellion and pride can cause consequences.

President Woodrow Wilson, known for his high intelligence, once said of his presidency, “I’m smart enough to use all the intelligence of everyone around me.” That man knew enough to take advantage of what was offered to him by others.

“I got this,” sure sounds self-confident, but can lead you to ignore the advice of others who only have your best interests at heart.

• • •

Andy E. Bowman has been a Southern Baptist pastor in Oklahoma and Florida for more than 30 years. Recently medically retired from that field, he and his wife, Renie, now author the column Coffeetime with Brother Andy, writing on currently relevant topics from a conservative and humorous viewpoint. The new “Coffeetime With Andy & Renie Podcast” can be found at or your favorite podcaster site.

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