Kent Bush: Entrusting them to God for protection

Kent Bush

I took my family fishing Saturday. I couldn't help it.

It was a rare spring day in Kansas where the temperature rose without a corresponding increase in wind speeds.

We had a good time. We caught a few fish. But mostly, we just enjoyed being there on the bank together.

At one point, my son got a little bored and said he wanted to play on the dam. I worried about it a little. It's pretty steep and he is a 7-year-old who grows about an inch every six weeks. He isn't clumsy, but he can be a bit gangly at times. He is also not what I would call an expert swimmer. So I told him it wasn't a great idea and tried to convince him to stay with me.

"Dad, I won't fall in," he said. "I'm big now."

He is 4 feet, 4 inches tall and bullet proof. That's a little worrisome.

But I realized he needed to play on that dam. It was a mini rite of passage.

So I said, "Go on son. Just be smart about it."

"You got it, Dad," he said, running for the dam.

He was taking a chance, but it was an important part of him growing up. One day, he'll come to me with news that will prove to me that he has finished that process.

I found out how bittersweet that moment may be Sunday at church.

Our pastor's son has signed up to train to become a Navy diver or perhaps even become a SEAL. He left Tuesday for training, but his decision was made months before SEALs killed Osama bin Laden.

On Sunday morning after the service, Daniel went to the front of the church, hugged his father and joined with many church and family members for a special time of prayer before he takes this incredible step.

This isn't a desperate kid who can't find a job. He made his decision with his eyes wide open. He knows that we are at war. More than most, he knows that those who join his chosen field put themselves in risky situations to make sure missions are accomplished.

As our pastor tried to explain to the congregation what was taking place, he was overtaken by the emotion of it and had to rely on another minister to explain.

I can't imagine that moment.

The pride and excitement for what he is now and will soon become swirling with the fear and worry for what might happen to him.

Whether our children desire to become lawyers, doctors, teachers or soldiers, we have to entrust them to God for protection. But somehow, I think I might worry less if my son wanted to become an engineer than if he became an Army Ranger.

When Daniel decided to pursue this endeavor, I'm sure his parents discussed it with him at length.

But somewhere in that conversation they heard that same argument that my 7-year-old used on me.

He's a man now. And he is making his decision like a man.

Godspeed, Daniel.

We appreciate your service and that of all of the young men and women who serve this country in the armed forces.

Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta (Kan.) Gazette.