Sometimes it feels like race relations in our country are at an all-time low, but here’s a reminder that for many Americans, love is far more important than race and ethnicity.
Growing up in Victoria, Texas, Cody Shugart never had any kind of relationship with his dad. He says it wasn’t easy not having the guidance of a loving father as he navigated life’s many obstacles, but he was fortunate enough to live close by to several hardworking, loyal men who were more than happy to step into the role of father figure for young Cody.
Now that Cody is married and has a son of his own, he reflected back on how important it was to have those men by his side during his formative years. He is most fond of one man named Milton West, although Cody grew up calling him Mr. Chip.
After Cody shared a photo of his baby son, Bob Wayne, sitting on Mr. Chip’s lap, the image began to spread throughout the web like wildfire. It isn’t hard to see why this image struck a nerve for many people; Mr. Chip is African American, and Bob Wayne is white — and blond as can be.
In a world divided by politics and often dominated by hateful headlines, seeing a picture of two very different generations enjoying one another’s company, as families do, sparked polarizing yet powerful emotions. Seeking to explain the picture and demonstrate how little race has to do with love, Cody wrote a touching message on Facebook.
So a lot of people like this picture. So I wanted to take a minute to tell the story. Milton West was my childhood next door neighbor. I knew him as Mr. Chip. He retired from DOW chemical as an operator. He has always been there for me since I was two years old. Growing up without a father was always difficult for me. But the good lord surrounded me with great men, Mr.Chip was one of them. He constantly preached the value of an education, taught me how to take care of a yard, he taught me to see people for who they are not what they look like, he taught me how to treat my mother like a saint and many other life lessons. His contributions to me becoming a good son, man, and father were huge.
I am forever grateful for God putting him in my life.
So this past May my wife and I had a little boy named Bob Wayne Shugart. When Mr. Chip and his wife Shirley saw him they fell in love with him. They babysit him sometimes and we go and visit when we can. The last time we were over there Mr. Chip said he wants to be called ‘POP.’ He says that’s his grandson. So we had to come up with a name for his wife. We decided on Lolli!!!!
So we tell Bob Wayne we are going to see Lolli Pop!!! I’m grateful that Lolli and Pop will be apart of my son’s life. If he learns half the things from Mr. Chip as I did he will become a great son, man, and father.
Everyday I read something negative and how race relations are worse than ever. I disagree and I hope this is a positive loving message to many people. This is just one story in little ol Victoria, Texas. I’m sure there are millions of similar stories across the United States.
This is just the sort of reminder that many people need. Instead of pointing out our differences, maybe we should all focus on what really matters: love, support, companionship, and joy!
Please share this important story to spread this message of love and acceptance as far as we can.
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