Years ago, I heard Harold Morris give his testimony on Doctor Dobson Focus on the Family. Harold published one book, Twice Pardoned, before his death. Harold died of throat cancer. After hearing it on air, I ordered the cassettes. I can remember the jest of the story but I’m sure some of the details are wrong. It has been a long time since I heard or read the story. Let’s treat it like a parable.
Harold was an all state athlete in the State of Georgia but between high school a promising college career, he started hanging out with the wrong crowd. One night they planned the robbery of a liquor store: in advance, they set this Harold up as the fall guy. He was the driver of the get a way car. He sits in the car with engine running, they go in and rob the store plus they murder the clerk behind the counter. With in a couple of weeks, they are all picked up and they all have the same story–the driver was the trigger man. Harold Morris spends the next 20 years or so in a Georgia Correctional Facility for a murder he did not commit.
In memory serves me correctly, Harold was converted to Christ while in prison and paroled around age 40 with one condition: he had to work 5 years at a Georgia Institution for boys. An orphanage for boys more or less. He served as the coach.
There was one child in the facility that had outstanding ability and the Harold picked up on it right away. The kid was a sprinter and he had speed to burn. These kids were allowed to compete in the Georgia High School state championship and the coach was so excited about the prospect of carrying Mike to the State Finals.
At this point, the coach ran into a problem; the state tournament was on a Thursday which was parent day at the facility. This happens after the Harold had been there three or four years so he knows which parents show up and which one’s don’t.
He asks Mike about going with him to the State Track meet and Mike says emphatically, “Coach, I can’t go on Thursday. It is visitation day and my mother has promised to come see me.” The coach tried everything but Mike would not budge. Finally in frustration, the coach said, “Mike, I’m going to tell you the truth. Your sorry mother is not coming next Thursday or the Thursday after that…she is not coming period and you know it.”
These words of pure truth crushed Mike’s hope, he dropped his heard and went to the locker room to change. Never ran track again and never spoke to Harold again. Harold’s final summation went something like this, “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t regret telling Mike the ugly truth.”
Folks, you can’t be brutally honest with a child when it comes to the character of his or her parents. It is easier to help a child than it is to fix a broken adult.