Here’s a great story for the month of Father’s Day. Our friend, Mark Weiler, shared it in one of our church meetings quite a while ago, but I’ve never forgotten it. I understand Vaughn Featherstone gave the original version at a temple dedication. I’ve tried to find that one, but haven’t been able to. Mark was kind enough to send me his version of the story.
John Jones was a poor farmer in Idaho. He felt badly that his life was dull. He blamed his unremarkable life, at least partly, on his ordinary name. When John had a son, he wanted something better for his boy. He thought an unusual name would inspire greatness. He named his son Amazing Jones.
Amazing grew to hate his name. He was teased by his friends. He was teased by his teachers. He grew to believe that he could never live up to his name. He decided to pursue an ordinary life and live with the embarrassment of his name. After his father’s death, Amazing inherited the family farm and worked it the remainder of his life.
Amazing married a young woman from his hometown. Together, they lived a quiet, humble life in rural Idaho. They had eight children, all of whom helped on the farm. Those eight children each married and had large families of their own. All of the children and grandchildren lived simple and honorable lives. They loved and respected their father and grandfather. They gathered together frequently to help on the farm.
Despite his supportive family, Amazing remained embarrassed by his name. He felt like a failure. As he neared the end of his life, he told his children that he wanted his name to be forgotten. He hoped it would never be spoken again. He did not want it listed on the headstone of his grave. After his death, his family obeyed Amazing’s request. However, they did want to honor him. His headstone was engraved to read: “Here lies Mr. A. Jones. He was a loving husband who was happily married for fifty-five years. He is adored by his legacy of eight children and fifty grandchildren.”
Now, people who visit that cemetery in Idaho, pause, read this headstone, reflect on this family and say to themselves: “Wow! This man was amazing”.