Faith and Family

Memories and Mechanics

May 9, 2024

Even if touchpoints with a person are short and far between, they can have a lasting impact. Just like the memories we have of our mechanic.

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Puppy Training Principles Podcast

Episode 63: Memories and Mechanics

Based off a podcast recorded on May 31, 2022. Even if touchpoints with a person are short and far between, they can have a lasting impact. Just like the memories we have of our mechanic.

Overdue, Waiting for Baby Number Eight

Together with my wife Lorelei, our 7 soon-to-be 8 kids, and our amazing team, we run this dog training business.

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would some day be the father of eight kids. It’s awesome! My wife, Lorelei, on the day of recording this podcast was 9 days overdue. NINE days! We totally thought the baby would have arrived by now! But I guess this baby really just likes hanging out with mom and isn’t ready to come yet.

We are in limbo here, waiting and waiting for this baby to come. We have everything ready to go at the drop of a hat. We are excited to add this new little human to our family. And so we wait…

A Different Memorial Day

At the time of recording, we just celebrated Memorial Day in the United States. It’s a holiday our family loves. It’s a simple and beautiful day where we remember and honor those who have gone before us. We especially honor those who have fought for our freedoms and those who are our personal ansestors who have left us such a beautiful legacy.

Normally we would go visit grandparents on Memorial Day, telling stories and visiting cemetaries, but this year we decided we better not. At 9 days overdue, we decided it would be best to stay close to home. But we still wanted to do something. So went to our local cemetary to just walk around with our kids.

It’s such a gorgeous time of year and the cemetary on Memorial Day is especially beautiful with flowers everywhere. Graves are decorated and we like our kids to see it. We enjoy reading headstones and the peaceful feeling there is at cemetaries. It helps us remember what’s really matters most, as people tend to etch only the most important things into stone like that.

Sir Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further than someone else, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

I have such a deep gratitude for those who have gone before and paved new trails to make the life I have today possible, both in the world and in my personal family. I want my kids to have the same gratitude, so we walk the cemetary at least once a year.

Mark Hatch’s Headstone

As we were looking around and were just about to head home, we happened upon a special headstone. It was the grave of Mark Hatch. Our hearts swelled with gratitude as we gathered around the headstone and took in every bit of it. Lorelei had tears come to her eyes.

Now this wasn’t a headstone of anyone you likely know or have heard about. It’s not a gravestone that people would likely come to see, outside of his own family. But he meant something truly significant to us.

Mark Hatch was our mechanic.

Stick with me here. I know mechanics aren’t generally known to have huge impacts on your life, but Mark Hatch did.

He died about 5 years ago suddenly, and when our 10-year-old at the time heard the news, he immediately began to cry. It’s not that we were family in any way. We didn’t even have a day-to-day relationship with him. He was just our mechanic at a shop about a mile from our home. But in that role, Mark was both honest and inspirational to us and our family.

“I Can’t Earn That Much Money”

A couple years before Mark passed away, when that same son was about 8 years old, he came to me and said, “Dad, how much will it cost for me to go on a mission for our church?”

Now you’ve got to understand that he was 8, and that mission would be at least a decade away. He’s always been a planner and he wanted to know how much it would cost. So I sat and did the math with him. If he saved about $80 per month for the next decade, that would cover the cost.

When I told him that number, his eyes got big and emotional when he said, “Dad, I don’t think I can do that.” He was a hard worker at 8 years old, but he of course wasn’t bringing in that kind of money even with his income of a nickle per chore. He really wanted to serve God by going on a mission, but I could see his little 8-year-old heart was about to break and he said, “I don’t know if I can go. I can’t earn that much money.”

I jumped in and helped him think through what he could do. He really wanted to do something. And thus, Christian’s little candy machine business was born.

Starting the Candy Machine Business

I told him I’d give him a loan to buy the machines, but he would have to pay me back for them before he could make a profit. He helped me research machines that were on our local classified ads and he helped to buy and pick them up.

And then we practiced what he could say to a business owner when he asked to place a machine in their business. We talked about standing up tall, speaking clearly, and looking people in the eye.

He was ready.

And the first place we went to try to place a candy machine was Hatch Auto. We pulled up and I asked Christian if he wanted me to go in with him. He said no, that he could do it himself and he jumped out of the car and went in.

I sat in the car, praying that this experience would go well for him. When he had been gone for about 10 minutes, I started to worry. At what point do I go in and rescue him? What’s going on?

At that moment, I looked in my rear view mirror to see Christian and Mark Hatch walking out of the shop together. Mark was super tall and towered over Christian, but I could see from the way Christian was carrying himself that he felt strong and tall too.

Talking Man to Man

I hop out of the car and walk over to see what’s up. As I approached, I overheared Mark talking to my 8-year-old son as if he were an adult.

He was saying things like: We would love to have your candy machines placed at our shop. Now what does your machine look like? What kinds of candy are you thinking of having in your machine? How often are you going to come and service these?

He even told him about a friend he has that started doing candy machines as a kid and now he’s a millionaire. Talk about building a kid up!

They had walked out to the car so Christian could show him his machine. With no more than a slight nod to me, he continued to focus on Christian. Mark made Christian feel like a million bucks! Mark seemed to understand the gravity of this moment and he really played the part with heart.

The Stack of Quarters

And everytime after that was no different. Christian would come in to service the machine and replace the candy, and Mark would make it a point to talk with Christian if he could. He would build him up and leave him smiling.

Many, many times when we went to service that machine, there would be a stack of quarters placed on the top, free for anyone to use. After Mark died, the stack of quarters stopped. He had been the one putting them there. It may have only been a few dollars, but it meant way more to us.

There are many more stories we could tell with Mark. And again, it’s not likely we had daily or even monthly interactions with him. But every contact we had with him was an uplifting one. He took the everyday moments to make extraordinary memories. He chose to lift others where he stood. And most of the time, where he stood was at the mechanic shop.

Check out Mark’s obituary here. At the end of my life, if my obituary can read something similar, in my opinion that is a life well lived.

Joy Into the Every Day

Do you know anyone like that? Perhaps its the teller at your grocery store, or a teacher, or the crosswalk person. People that bring a little joy into your day everytime you run into them.

I think that’s a big part of why we love dogs so much. They are good at doing that for us; loving us as we are and bringing joy into the every day moments.

Mark Hatch was that kind of person. We really didn’t know him that well, but every interaction we had made a difference.

Big Announcement

After a long time of praying and thinking about this, my family and I have decided that after 15 years of teaching school, this is my last year of teaching and I am going full time with Cornerstone Dog Training. We always thought we would teach through retirement, but God has sent us direction to now go another way.

I hope that I can find ways to be like Mark and even through dog training, lift those I come in contact with.

Podcast Shownotes

Jason updates us on their new baby, and shares a heart felt story about about the importance of people and memories! Plus a big announcement!

4:00 Comforts and joys of those who have gone before us

4:45 Mark Hatch story

7:43 Son starts a business to make money to pay for a mission

14:01 Mark Hatch ties a lesson for son Christian

16:42 Jason announces he is quitting his teaching job and going full time with Cornerstone!

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