My turn: Mom led by example

Faye Sloan, April 13, 1918—Nov. 7, 2010

Although I cannot take credit, my biggest accomplishment in life is being one of Faye Sloan’s children.

Despite being in higher education for many years, I never learned as much as sitting on the couch talking with her about everything under the sun. Even when she disagreed, she did it so gently that it always took a couple of days to realize it.

I always assumed that I acquired my passion for sports from my father and three older brothers. But it was not until, well into her 70s, that she played baseball with us in our east Texas pasture — and ran the bases — that I realized where I had inherited my speed.

A friend once described mother as gold-plated steel. As she continued raising grandkids and great-grandkids well into her 80s, the gold ran very deep. But if anyone treated her kids — some bi-racial — unfairly, they discovered the steel.

The most important and lasting lesson that she taught me — by example rather than words — was to treat everyone with humility, fairness and compassion.

When mother prayed in our barn for her six children, I — and our distant neighbors — often overheard her mention “Wendel” repeatedly.

I don’t know if God heard her prayers, but I did.