By Del Duduit
In case you did not see the dozens of posts on my social media this weekend, I’ll fill you in with the big news.
Angie and I are going to be grandparents again!!
Sophie, our four-year-old granddaughter, made the gender announcement in her own style.
The blonde-hair cutie patootie made her favorite concoction of slime underneath the confines of a box. Even she did not know if she was going to be the big sis of a brother or a sister.
She slid her little hands into the mixing bowl hidden underneath a crafted piece of cardboard that kept her from seeing the result.
Sophie squished and squeezed the ingredients together as the tension mounted.
Blue slime signaled a boy and pink, well you get the idea.
What color was she going to have oozing from her hands?
After a few minutes of combining all the slime and goo, she pulled out a big glob of blue slime.
For weeks, our daughter-in-law, Danielle, was certain she was going to have another girl. Needless to say she was happy with the news but was caught off guard.
We are excited for our new grandson to arrive in early May 2019. The feeling is overwhelming and daunting, but it makes us feel 15 years younger.
The best part of being grandparents is knowing my son and his wife are Christians.
We are confident they will provide direction for their new son and will give him every benefit of the home and church, along with a slime-loving big sis.
I had a similar conversation a couple of weeks ago in Cincinnati, without the slime of course.
Alex Erickson is a wide receiver for the Bengals. He’s a young man who I consider to still be a newlywed since he and his wife have been married for about a year and a half.
They are expecting their first child in March 2019.
“We are excited to start our family,” he told me after the Bengals defeated Tampa Bay two weeks ago. “We want to raise our child and show them our faith in God.”
Alex was a standout athlete at Darlington High School in Wisconsin. He rushed for 3,856 yards and 57 touchdowns, passed for 3,648 yards and 37 touchdowns and recorded 170 tackles and 14 interceptions.
He was first-team all-state and all-conference as a defensive back. As a quarterback, he gained 2,489 yards of total offense (1,239 rushing and 1,250 passing), scored 33 touchdowns (20 rushing and 13 passing.)
At the University of Wisconsin, he earned three letters and finished his career ranked 10th in school history with 1,877 receiving yards and ranked sixth all-time with 141 career receptions.
He recorded his first NFL touchdown on November 19, 2017, on a 29-yard pass from quarterback and friend Andy Dalton in a Bengals 20–17 win over Denver. Last year, he had two receptions for 180 yards and one TD to go along with 32 kick returns for 663 yards and 39 punt returns for 278 net yards.
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Alex knows how to play the game of football. He listens to his coaches and uses his God-given ability to earn a living for his growing family.
But he is venturing into uncharted waters. He has never been a father. He and his wife are excited but nervous.
For these reasons, he confides in friends with similar convictions. He is blessed to be on the same team with Andy, who I have interviewed several times about his Christian values.
“I’ve talked with him a lot, and I’m getting a feel for what to expect,” Alex told me. “I’m not going to be fully prepared, but I want to know how they juggle the challenges.”
Alex and his wife are determined to raise their child under the roof of faith. “We want to pass it along to our kids, and we want them to know about Jesus,” he said. “We want to provide a solid foundation for our kids when they get here.”
He is in his 20’s, and I’m more than double his age. But we will both be experiencing new life at the same time in different ways. His role will be to raise his child while mine will be to spoil my granddaughter and grandson.
Angie and I have raised our two sons and we are proud that they are responsible young men. We raised them in church, and they chose to follow the Lord. We did not make them become Christians, but we exposed them to the gospel of Christ when they were young.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22: 6 KJV)
Alex has the right attitude and ambition for his child as we did. There are no guarantees but he’s making the right choice. He is setting the standard.
He will make mistakes in life, just as he does on the football field. He returns punts and kickoffs for a living and catches passes from Andy on any given Sunday.
But keep in mind that No. 12 is going to be a new father when you see him get tackled on television. Pray for his safety and his health. I have a feeling his child will need him along the way to show him Christ is more valuable than a touchdown.
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb in his reward. (Psalm 127: 3 KJV)
Are you a young parent or a new grandparent? Do you see the benefits of raising young ones in the church and exposing them to the gospel of Jesus Christ at a young age?
Does this post make you think differently about some players in the NFL? Let me know your thoughts on this blog.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.
His first book — BUCKEYE BELIEVER – 40 Days of Devotions for The Ohio State Faithful –can be purchased on Amazon here.