“Why haven’t you written about how you feel about your first-born getting married this month?” my wife asked.

“I’m not sure,” I said, partly humming the words from “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Is this the little girl I carried?

Truthfully, Sara is marrying a great guy. I’ll admit to being somewhat silent about it, however, as it’ll be a ceremony that strains our family traditions. It’s at a campsite beside a mountain stream.

Honestly, her nonchurch wedding is a bit embarrassing to explain, but she’s never been shy about embarrassing me. She’s done it most of her life.

With tongue-in-cheek, please allow me to define embarrass.

First of all, she’s always embarrassed me with her smarts.

I remember struggling to help her younger sister multiply fractions when she proclaimed, “Dad doesn’t know fractions. I’ll teach you.”

“Big Sister” was on a competitive math team.

Her talent also has embarrassed me a bit. I’d hoped she’d inherit my singing talent, but she didn’t. And those judging her singing competitions seemed oddly grateful.

Her energy always has been a source of embarrassment.

She’s not yet old enough to rent a car, but she’s visited 41 countries in the past five years. When she’s home, she works double shifts to make enough money to explore more countries.

The girl always has made me look bad. Especially with her integrity.

Anytime a waitress would try to apply the kid’s discount, “Miss Honesty” would proclaim, “No, Dad, we’re paying adult prices now.”

Thanks a lot, kid.

Even her faith has proved embarrassing.

When it came to instilling a faith in her, I tried to shelter her from the expectations I grew up with concerning church four times a week. Nevertheless, I proudly watched her join a church, help start a college ministry and teach underprivileged kids.

Sacred texts tell a story of a boy named David who also had a talent for embarrassing his family. One day he brought a care package to his brothers who were part of the Israeli Expeditionary Force facing a Special Forces unit headed by Goliath.

Goliath had drawn a line in the sand, daring anyone to fight him. When no one would fight, David posed an embarrassing question: “Why is all of Israel cowering in their tents?”

Then, as if to shame his brothers into fighting, David volunteered to face the giant with only his boyhood slingshot.

His cowardly brothers showed their bravery by dressing him for battle and pushing him out of the tent. David refused the traditional protection, and his brothers sent him out alone.

Kids. You can’t tell them anything. It’s embarrassing really.

Well, if you don’t know the rest of the story, you might want to pick up the “Veggie Tale” video. Suffice to say, David wasn’t alone. God was with him, and the little runt felled this giant with just a slingshot.


Like David, my daughter has embarrassed me hundreds of times by living the answer to Spencer Johnson’s question, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

She and her fiancé, Warren Schaefer, have fully engaged their generation as they leave the tent of tradition to face many of the giants that terrorized previous generations. They are giants that we weren’t smart enough, or brave enough, or loving enough, to overcome. Her generation will conquer stars and diseases, prejudices and poverty and other unimaginable challenges.

So, go ahead, Sara. Take your turn felling those giants, and I’ll be proud to be embarrassed some more. You’re my hero.

Oh, by the way, I’m glad to see that you are keeping some family traditions. Your mother says you’re registered at Target.

Write norris@thechaplain.net.