Although I live in Denver, I’m going to try not to sound too much like a “homey” when I add my 2 cents about Tim Tebow to the national (international !) dialog that has erupted about this young man. For those of you who are just returning from a 6 month Mars mission, Tim Tebow is the Denver Broncos quarterback who has captured the attention of every football fan in the world, as well as every non-football fan in the world. Even pets have noticed the euphoria during Broncos football games as their owners jump around the TV like crazy people. Our dog, Lizzy, startles easily, so Tebow Time is very unsettling for her.
Unlike every other blogger, columnist, pundit, and journalist, I’m not going to write about Tim Tebow as a football player. I’m not going to discuss his outward displays of deep faith that have caused such animated discussions. Or the poise he shows under the intense media spotlight. A spotlight so intense, that Twitter reported more “tweets” about Tebow this past Sunday than about any other person or event in history – including following the death of Osama bin Laden, which held the previous tweeting record.
Rather, I’m going to write about Tim Tebow’s parents. This is, after all, a parenting blog derived from a parenting book, written by a pediatrician who thinks a lot about parenting issues. The idea for this post came from my wife, Sara. After Sunday’s startling (stunning, smashing, shocking) Broncos win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime, Tim gave the inevitable post-game interviews that come with being the superstar du jour. After a particularly touching interview, where he mentioned Bailey Knaub (see below), Sara said, “Tim’s parents must be so proud.” Indeed, they must be so proud.
Bailey Knaub is a 16 year-old girl with a life-threatening illness, Wegener’s granulomatosis. She has already undergone 73 surgeries in her young life. (You can read more about Bailey in today’s Denver Post. Bailey is a patient at Children’s Hospital Colorado where I have practiced for the past 30 years. She is not my patient; she is cared for by close colleagues of mine. No one should have to know the struggles she has encountered in her life. But Tim Tebow knows. Bailey’s cousin wrote to Tim’s “Tebow Foundation Wish 15” program which grants wishes to kids like Bailey. Her wish was straightforward and simple – to meet Tim Tebow, whom she has adored and followed since his days at the University of Florida. When Tim heard from Bailey’s cousin, he Fed-ex’d first level, 30-yard line tickets for the Broncos playoff game with the Steelers to Bailey and her family, who then all sat with Tim’s parents and his siblings throughout the game – witnesses to one of the most exciting finishes in professional football history. Tim visited the stands before the game to introduce himself to Bailey and to give her an official football, and promised to “hang” with her and her family after the game. And then, in the midst of the chaotic jubilation and celebration after the game, he again visited the bleachers where he signed the ball for Bailey Knaub, and “hung” with her. And he also gave her a signed rookie card for her brother who couldn’t make the game. In Bailey’s words, the Tebows are “a very huggy family. I got about 20 hugs from everyone and a ton from Tebow.”
In that post-game interview, the one that prompted my wife to ponder aloud how proud Tim’s parents must be, Tebow said, “I’m very excited to have Bailey Knaub here at this game.” This was a Sunday with much for Tim to be excited about, and much for his parents to be proud of. Yet, Tim ranked having Bailey at the game at the top of his accomplishment list.
You can tell a lot about a kid’s parents by seeing their kid in action. The world has seen Tim Tebow in action. I am certain his parents are most proud of what he does for the Bailey Knaubs of the world. That’s the kind of parents they are, because that’s the kind of kid he is.
And that, my friends, is No Regrets Parenting.