Daddy absolutely loved children! He was never too busy to talk with them. And he considered what they had to say as important as any adult. This truly endeared him to the children.
Jason was three and a half years old and extremely hyperactive. His mother had her hands full with three other children. One day, she and her husband decided to take Jason in to see my father. When he prayed for little Jason, they could feel the calming power of God go through that little body, relaxing those tight little muscles.
Jason did very well the next year and a half, but when he started kindergarten, hyperactivity again became a problem, especially in his dealings with other children. Jason's mother and teacher were at their wit's end. Since he was attending the Maranatha Kindergarten at Central Assembly, they decided to make an appointment for Jason to see daddy by himself.
Although my father was very busy, his counseling schedule alone sometimes amounting to 50 hours a week, he wasn't too busy to see this little boy.
After the first session, he scheduled from thirty minutes to an hour a week for Jason. A whole new world opened up to him because daddy began teaching this little five-year-old boy how to read. Once a week Jason would come into his office, and every time he left, he was carrying a little tablet with his reading assignment on it. Daddy also shared with him what God was really like and taught him how to talk to God all by himself.
Jason became a new little boy, and was happy because my father called him his "little buddy."
One day Jason said, "Mom, Pastor Buck must be an awful lot like God!" She asked, "Why is that, honey?" He responded, "Because he loves us little kids so much!"
Daddy also had another little boy who was his "buddy." This little boy had a problem of being all brain and no brawn. Dad met with him once a week also, and worked with his muscles. He would give him a different kind of assignment, that of doing so many push-ups, sit-ups, or running so many miles as his homework. My father encouraged young and old to have a balance of body, soul and spirit.
A boxing ring in the church? Daddy decided to give the boys at Maranatha High School some boxing lessons, sharing with them some of the knowledge and skill he had developed in years past. At the same time, he would be able to gain a priceless rapport with these young men, and could incorporate some solid spiritual truths into their boxing lessons. He talked one of the gyms into loaning him good equipment. The boys loved it. Every Wednesday was their day, and they would never let their teacher forget them. All other appointments had to wait while he worked with his boxing class.
One night, visitors to the church were astonished to walk in and find a boxing ring set up in the middle of the foyer. My father and Pastor Mike, our youth pastor, were the referees, and the boxing class of Maranatha was having an exhibition.
One of the boys who was part of that class told me how daddy had called him into his office one day. He was scared, wondering what he had done. Dad did not beat around the bush. He told this young man that God had let him know some things he was doing in secret. The young man was really startled. He prayed with my father and he quit doing those things. Daddy continued to pray for him.
Several weeks before this book was written, this young man came to my office and shared that he had given his life completely over to the Lord. He was so thankful for the kind of pastor who cared enough to share himself with him and his friends.
Daddy had a terrific idea. Although he was putting in many, many hours already and Sunday was a big day, he decided that he wanted the chance to share with all the little kids in his church what God was really like. So every Sunday evening an hour before the service, he opened his office to "little kids only." His office would be crammed with several dozen children. He would teach them about the beautiful nature of God. He showed them how to pray for one another and led them in worship.
During one of these sessions, he talked about fear of the dark and noises at night. He told the children that the Bible say that the angels of the Lord encamp around those who love the Lord. He told them that when they heard creaking noises or scary sounds in the night, it was just the angels throwing more wood on their campfire.
He had a good chuckle about a week later when a mother called and told him her little boy had been trying to go to sleep the night before. It was a stormy night. The wind was howling and making the house creak with scary noises. Finally, her little boy called her and said, "Mom, I sure wish those angels would be a little more quiet. I can't get to sleep because they're making so much noise around their campfire!"
One day, Queenie stole the lunch of a little kid who was a little more resourceful than most. This young man decided to go straight to the top. He knocked on my dad's door. Daddy opened the door, and there stood a little boy who said, "Pastor Buck, Queenie stole my lunch." Dad said, "Well, we can't have that, can we?" That afternoon a very proud little guy went to lunch with his pastor at the drive-in down the street. Word got around, and pretty soon Queenie was having a field day with lunches "accidentally" left lying around. More and more kids were knocking on daddy's door with the sad story of Queenie stealing their lunches. He really got a chuckle out of this and said, "Those kids are sure smart little rascals, aren't they?" Actually, he really enjoyed taking these little ones to lunch once in a while.
The church had an excellent preschool day-care program. Every day at noon the little kids would line up and march over to the church where there was a dining room with tables just their size, right next to dad's office. Every once in a while, he would open his door when he would hear the children going to lunch, and when they would see him, they would say in their little voices, "There's Pastor Buck. Hi, Pastor Buck!" He would come out of his office and get down on one knee to talk to them, and they all would swarm over to him and have to have a hug.
His last Halloween, all the little kids in the preschool dressed up for a party. Pastor Buck was invited to come over and see all of them. They were so excited when he walked in. Everybody wanted him to see their costumes. He got down on one knee, and just like a signal had been given, the children formed a line around him and each one had to have an individual hug and show off their costume.
Daddy was a typical, proud grandfather. He loved his grandchildren. My daughter, Angie, was the first grandchild, and he thought she was the prettiest, most delightful little creature he had ever seen. "Nana" Buck, of course, shared these feelings totally. Eleven months later, I presented my father with a little grandson, Terry, and he thought his life was complete. Then nine days later, my sister, Charm, adopted a little boy, Bryan. Both grandparents were so thrilled and delighted, it was fun to see. That Sunday my dad's buttons just about popped as he said with great pride, "It isn't every man that can get three grandchildren in less than one year!"
When I was a young girl growing up, my father used to build me up. Now that I was a mother of two little babies, he would compliment me often on what a fine mother I had turned out to be. Even when I felt like I was the worst, witchy mother in the world, he would pat me on the back and say, "Honey, you're doing just great."
When the two little boy cousins, Terry and Bryan, and Angie got together, it was really something. When they were 3 and 4 years old I overheard the three of them telling some little kids who were acting up, "You had better be good, 'cause our grandpa is the boss of this church."
Daddy was absolutely delighted with his six grandchildren, my two, Angie and Terry, Charm's three, Bryan, Heather and Heidi and Ted's little girl, Cherry. He felt they were the brightest, sharpest, little grandchildren ever born. He built up their self-esteem just like he did with all of us kids when we were growing up.
After daddy had gone to be with the Lord, my two children were saying their bedtime prayers. They were in separate bedroom so they didn't hear each other. My heart was so touched as they both ended their prayers with, "And God, would you please tell grandpa we miss him and we still love him!"
When daddy went to be with the Lord, Mother received letters from many of his little children. The following are some of these letters.