Growing up, I was like most kids. All I cared about was horsing around and having fun. I also, like most kids, had people I looked up to for how they were living their lives. For example, I saw my dad work hard to provide for our family of seven. There also was my grandfather on my mom’s side, who did so much for us grandchildren. He took us hunting and fishing all the time and even was the one who gave me my nickname, “Rip.” Then there was my older brother, Bob, whose every step I watched and tried to imitate, even though he was four years older. Bob was good at everything he did, from schoolwork to music and sports. Following his example while growing up kept me out of trouble most of the time and helped me to keep working hard at my goals.
These people in my life, and especially my brother, demonstrated so many important lessons. By being around them and watching them, I learned how important it is to set a good example for others. In the Bible, the apostle Paul told Titus at Titus 2:7 to “show yourself to be an example of fine works in every way.” Getting married and becoming a father and now a grandfather, I’ve tried to follow that advice as much as possible with my own family.