Look beyond the police officer.

September 25, 2020

Yesterday my husband came to me and said, “I was just in our son’s room and was looking at all his soccer medals he hung on his wall. It made me realize that he has played every year of his life since he was 4.” Our son is now 11.

I looked at him and said, “you know why, right?”

He looked back at me – knowingly…

When our son graduated from being cradled in my arms, then crawling on the floor, as soon as he started to run, we decided to expel that energy  by enrolling him in soccer. He loved learning how his body moved, how he can control a soccer ball and most importantly, how he can contribute to the larger part of a team.

He met Coach Dan Templeton when he was perhaps 5 or 6. Dan was a natural leader, strong, kind, fun but stern. He was quick to say good job and equally quick to say where one could’ve done better. He mentored our son and inspired him to continue playing, to genuinely love the game and to always feel accomplished win or lose as long as he gave his best effort.

I never understood how he volunteered with so many endeavors – when did he sleep? He coached both his sons’ team, supported his wife in her business, helped raise his granddaughter and worked full-time as an Elk Grove police officer. I would hear stories of his community service, one incident where he delivered a newborn baby on the side of the road.

I knew him as a Coach, his sons know him as a father, some know him as a Hero – and for the last several months, people only knew him as a police officer.

As a human being, it is hard to see any human being get hurt, regardless of reason. It’s hard to wake up to stories of innocent people getting killed, regardless of race or title. As a person who instinctively knows from right and wrong, it’s hard to express myself in today’s culture of cancellation and bold criticism.

There are negative people in every entity, whether it is a family, a company, a church or a community. You cannot allow the few, represent the whole. Just like you cannot allow one moment, determine your entire life. You cannot let one failing, define your whole character. You cannot allow one man, to represent a group. And you cannot let one person’s title, represent the only title he/she holds in life.

The people we meet are spouses, coaches, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers…there is simply more than what you were introduced to.

In order to receive grace, we must give grace. We have to be awakened to the hurt, the cycle and the calling for help. We have to start asking WHY, at all levels, every day and to each other, so we can ask HOW we can fix our broken country.

Lastly, we need to distinguish all that is good, so our energies can go ‘there’. Where there is good, there is grace. Where there is grace, there is redemption.

Thank you, Coach Dan, for being more than just a coach, thank you for being all things, to everyone. We see you and we thank you.  

Thank you Officer Dan Templeton

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