Stanton ‘The Statue’

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Like many boys of my era every summer I played little league baseball. One of the young boys that played on my team for years was a boy by the name of Stanton. Stanton was not very good and seldom played. But when he did play, each time he came to bat he would get in his stance; hold his bat high, and then stay in that same position for the entire at bat. He never swung the bat or even adjusted himself at the plate. If three strikes were thrown before four balls, he would strike out. If four balls were thrown by the pitcher before three strikes, he would receive a walk. No matter what happened, he would never move once he got in the batters box. The pitch could be wild and bounce around the backstop with the catcher running after it. Most boys would step out of the batters box, adjust themselves, take a practice swing and get back into the box; but not Stanton. He never moved…no matter what! Soon, some of the boys tagged him with the nickname, “Stanton the Statue,” a nickname that stuck and was used as a source of joking by a number of my teammates. I must admit it was comical to see him at the plate never flinching, never moving, standing as still as a statue.

Just this past year I received a surprising email in my box. It was from this long ago childhood teammate. I opened his email and read his opening line which said:

“Scott, perhaps you don’t recall who I am, but you might remember me from the days we played baseball together when everyone called me “Stanton the Statue!”

I laughed out loud when I read that line. He went on to write some pleasantries and closed his email in hopes I would respond back, which I did. However, the thing that struck me most was that here it was forty plus years later and he introduced himself to me as “Stanton the Statue,” a name that had been used to deride him and given to him by insensitive teasing boys. It made me wonder just how much damage can be done to our self-worth when we allow the world around us to define who we are? And if we do allow the world around us to define who we are, don’t we become a slave to its tenants?

Wouldn’t it be wiser for us to embrace the view that we are of royal birth and that a loving Heavenly Father holds us in high esteem! We should allow him to define who we are! His view of us is found in the scriptures. In Luke we read:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear yet not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrow.”

In John 10:14-15 we read, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

Isn’t it exhilarating to be known, by name, by the almighty God of us all? A few years ago I visited one of my sisters in the west, and had the opportunity to pronounce a priesthood blessing upon her. As we spoke following the blessing she made this emotional statement in reference to the blessing:

“It is wonderful to know that Heavenly Father knows who I am!”. How profound! Indeed it is wonderful to know that we are counted by the Lord. He has promised to us the “ministering of Angels.” He provides much of that ministering through His servants. People like you and I as well as many others! May we be worthy of that title!

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you; And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.”(D&C 78:17-18).

My long ago teammate, Stanton, stopped playing baseball soon after the nickname of “The Statue” was given to him. But it appears that, after decades, the memory of being made fun of still seems to linger in his mind. How unfortunate! Sometimes we can be so cruel to one another! It is a great blessing to know that we are sons and daughters of a loving Father who knows who we are and values each of us. Let our self-worth be set by Him and not by the world. He has revealed unto us of our royal heritage! We are statues infinitely more valuable than the price tag given to us by man.  (Looking at faded picture: Stanton-far left middle row, I’m on first row 2nd from right.)


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