My father-in-law Tim grew up in a small town. Not small as in one streetlight small. Small as in NO streetlight because the coming and going of livestock regulates the traffic as easily as a red light. It is not surprising, then, that he developed an insatiable hunger for knowledge and understanding.
He became a demographer, which is one of those fancy multi-syllabic words for, a people watcher (of the non-creepy variety) who takes a group, studies what they do, think, and become because of their membership in this group. His reaction to my overly simplistic description highlights a quality his son thinks so highly of him for. Tim would undoubtedly amend my description of his work, but before doing so he would look for what I said that WAS right, instead of immediately correcting the glaring problems. To look for the good, the truth in everything and everyone, the controversial, the obviously unredeemable, makes him one of the most interesting and inspiring people I know, and ME one of the luckiest people I know. Although, there are a growing number of other people who feel the same way.
For a number of years, he's been involved with a handful of people at BYU in taking students to Mexico to observe the people, their living conditions and culture, and also to serve. The latter is what gets him most excited. He loves the Mexican people and the others who serve them with a profound respect and affection. At every stop, city, small town, remote group of natives atop a mountain, he organizes different service projects like building cement wash basins, painting a school, playing with orphaned children, and hauling rocks in the most isolated villages,. . . . lots, and lots of rocks.
It's about 95 degrees. Unless you find a stream you're not bathing, and do not expect anyone or anything but the jaguars and drug lords to find you if you get lost---this is Tim's paradise! Sweaty and exhausted, working beside good people FOR good people, without stop is a good day to him. He's not much different at home--although he doesn't bathe in streams there---he is never still, but always moving, biking, or helping with projects at his or other's homes.
Tim is the one in green.
Perhaps it's what my husband, his son Michael, says is his keen awareness of the underdog that gives him his stamina. He comments how as a child his father always tried to make things fair and how as a man he is impressed with his father's concern for those who are at a disadvantage. It underlies everything he does, coloring his casual conversation, his daily work, and his demanding and elaborate trips. The phrase, "Life isn't fair," has never stopped Tim from working doggedly in trying to make it otherwise. There 's an increasing number of people in Mexico, a group of former students, and his family who have been lucky enough to love him for his example.
Tim is the one in green.
Happy Father's Day Tim!