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Cover 27


Aug-Sep 2009



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Keith Burden

one to one

So That's What She Meant



One to One is a regular feature of ONE Magazine. Written by Keith Burden, executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, the column explores life, ministry...and grandkids!


She came home from school bubbling over with excitement. Her class was participating in a nationwide writing contest. The subject? The Statue of Liberty. The prize? An all-expense paid trip to visit this historic landmark in New York Harbor.

Lots of Big Chief tablets and No. 2 pencils sprang into action. Our daughter did some research, and she was convinced she would produce the winning theme. We tried to encourage her but were careful not to give her a false sense of confidence. It was apparent that she took the challenge seriously!


Statue of Liberty


After a considerable amount of time and painstaking effort, she proudly produced the one-page masterpiece for us to read. We promised to honor her request, but first ushered her off to bed since it was late and a school night. Later that evening we sat down at the dining room table and read the journalistic efforts of our ambitious third grader.

As objectively as possible for a proud parent, I gave her work high marks. Her penmanship, content, and sentence structure was neat, clear, and understandable. My wife and I were equally impressed.

One thing left us perplexed—the title at the top of the page. It consisted of two capital letters—S. A. What in the world did S. A. mean? Not wanting to awaken our daughter for clarification, we racked our brains for a logical explanation. Statue America? School Assignment? No combination of words seemed to make sense. We were stumped!

At breakfast the next morning, we quizzed our little author about her title. “What do the letters S.A. mean?” we asked. With a note of genuine surprise, she replied matter-of-factly, “My teacher said it was supposed to be an essay!” In characteristic childlike fashion she had sounded out the word and written the letters S.A. It made perfect sense from her perspective.

Like many adults, we tried to make something simple difficult. That seems to happen a lot in families these days. Raising children isn’t all that complicated. It’s really quite simple—not easy, but simple. It’s as simple as loving God with all our heart, soul, and might. Bringing up godly sons and daughters is as straightforward as teaching them the truths of Scripture and modeling those principles before them.

Although the essay didn’t win the grand prize, it did teach us a valuable lesson—good communication includes both talking and listening! As parents we need to work hard at effectively communicating with our children. Some of the messages they send can be understood only as we look and listen from a child’s perspective. After all, they’re worth the effort…for of such is the kingdom of God.


About the Writer: Keith Burden is the executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists. Email Keith at To learn more about the National Association of Free Will Baptists, visit



©2009 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists