we need more “character” and less “characters” #GreatestGeneration

 And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. – Philippians 4:7-8

IMG_4282So this week – while war, terrorism, politics, calamity, and controversy continued their loud, frenzied, over the top domination of the daily news – here on Elmwood Court my dad quietly turned 88 in an eloquent reminder that what is good, and right, and honorable, is significantly more true, and powerful, and enduring.

David Maul was born in London, England, in 1928. Not long thereafter his family moved to Rayleigh, Essex, a small town 35 miles to the east. Other than his evacuation to Mansfield during the war years, and his postwar service with the British army, dad live in Rayleigh until he married Grace Kemp in 1952 and the newlyweds moved to Folkestone (my hometown).

A little less than 30 years later my parents sailed to the United States, living in Sarasota until joining Rebekah and me here in Wake Forest in 2014. It was Raleigh to Rayleigh, in a sense, with just a handful of steps in between.

IMG_4265SO WHAT! The reason I’m writing about my dad’s 88th birthday in today’s post is that these are the stories that need to be told. Good luck to the candidates for POTUS (major parties and alternative choices alike) but let’s take a break from the overbearing made-for-television PR-fest, and take a moment to remind one another that this country… this world… our future, stands or falls on the day-by-day decisions, and character, and faith, and resolute belief in tomorrow that is represented in people like my dad, men and women who have lived an undaunted witness in an often uncertain world, and who have gifted the rest of us with both promise and peace.

IMG_4281Just a few months after this next picture was taken, Europe (and soon after the entire world) plunged into darkness, consumed by the most devastating war in human history.

It won’t be too many more years before all the stories we have from that era will be second hand. But if you take the time right now to talk with those who were there (and I highly recommend it) – those who served, or who heard the bombs drop, or saw the planes fly over, or who picked through the rubble for loved ones, maybe you will understand how important it is that we remember – and imitate – their quiet humility today.

Because this world will never know peace in response to bullying, or intimidation, or threats, or brinkmanship, or false bravado; what we need in 2016, more than ever, is humility, hard work, self-sacrifice, generosity, encouragement, grace, inclusiveness, love, and reconciliation…

In other words, more people like my dad. Happy birthday! – DEREK




  1. What a lovely article. I have met your mother several times and I know what a wonderful woman and friend of my daughter she has been. I am sure your Dad is just the same. I too remember World War 11. I worked for the U.S. government at the Revena Arsenal in Ohio for a time during the war.
    So Happy Birthday.

    Dora Phelps


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