Wednesday, August 24, 2011


“Sacrificing your happiness for the happiness of the one you love is, by far, the truest type of love.”

Frank Havens

I read this story back in August 2001 in Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family bulletin. I believe that some of the best lessons about life can be learned from the experiences of others.

My question for you as you read this is: Was Bill crazy for passing up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in the Olympics? Would you or I have the courage to make the same decision?
One of the most powerful stories in the history of the Olympic Games involved a canoeing specialist named Bill Havens. He was a shoo-in, I’m told, to win a gold medal in the 1924 Olympics in Paris.

But several months before the games were held, he learned that his wife would likely give birth to their first child while he was away. She told him that she could make it on her own, but this was a milestone Bill just didn’t want to miss. So he shocked everyone and stayed home. Bill greeted his son, Frank, on August 1, 1924. Though he always wondered what might have been, he said he never regretted his decision.

Well, he poured his life into that little lad and shared with him a love for the rapids. Twenty-eight years passed, and the Olympic Games were held in Helsinki, Finland. This time Frank Havens was chosen to compete in the canoeing event. The day after the competition, Bill received a telegram from his son that read: “Dear Dad, Thanks for waiting around for me to be born in 1924. I’m coming home with the gold medal that you should have won.” It was signed, “Your loving son, Frank.”

Many would question Bill Havens’ decision to miss his big opportunity in Paris, but he wanted his family to know that they always came first, no matter what. And that made him a hero to a little boy named Frank.
Who or what are we living for today? Is it for the accolades given us by others or growing the relationships of those closest to us?

I challenge us today to make decisions based on relationships and becoming men and women of substance. Live today with purpose and intentionality and may all of our decisions in life come from a place of purity and love.

QUESTION: Do you have a loved one who sacrificed for you? Please share in the comments below.


Anonymous said...

I think my parents sacrificed for me in more ways than I will every realize. I'm so thankful for the mark they left in my life.

Anonymous said...

Wow...i'm speechless after that story....

I want to be that kind of a sacrafice for my family...

Ben Holbrook said...

Great story, very challenging...prioritising what is most important can be hard but ultimately seems to bring the most joy...and for me i'm learning to 'lose my life' a little to serve others.