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Kudos to the Bakers and the Campbells

Maybe you’ve seen it or read it already, but there’s a story that keeps grabbing my attention.

Last month, 15-year-old Ryan Baker was at a Chicago White Sox home game. At one point, Baker found himself in the perfect spot to catch a foul ball headed his way.

Two other fans also went after the ball, but Baker was the first to get to it. Common baseball etiquette would dictate that the ball was rightfully his.

Only one person disputed this.

A woman reached up and took the ball from Baker’s hand.

“She pries my fingers, takes the ball, and says it’s her ball because it almost hit her,” Baker told WGN-TV in Chicago. “I was in disbelief.”

It seemed everyone was outraged about the brazen, rude behavior of this woman, except for the woman herself, of course, and with the exception of one other person — Baker.

He lifted his arms out in a shrug and did not lash out, but returned to his seat.

Later that day, White Sox Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales Brooks Boyer hand-delivered a signed baseball to Baker to make up for the one taken from him. The team also invited Baker back to their next game, where they treated him as a star, giving him seats behind home plate, a meet-and-greet with the entire team, a ball signed for him by players and time to hang out in the media booth.

Another fan who had caught a foul ball during the first game also offered to give that ball to Baker.

When asked about his response to the woman stealing his foul ball, Baker explained that he acted like he knew he should. He wanted to stay true to himself and to the manners and respect his parents had taught him.

That young man’s decision earned him a lot of rather immediate rewards, and he’s not likely to forget it.

Singer-musician Glen Campbell (no relation to me) died several weeks ago at age 81, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. In a documentary about Campbell’s struggle with the disease and persistence in his music career, his daughter Ashley commented on his faith in God and his desire that she live in a way that demonstrates who her God is. She said every time she left home, he’d kiss her goodbye and say, “Whatever you do today, honor the Lord.”

It’s not something she’s forgotten.

My mother had a saying that she and my dad regularly repeated to us as we left the house as teenagers and young adults — “Remember who you are and whose you are.”

They wanted us to live like we had been raised, with honor, respect and love for others. They wanted us to stay true to who we were, not being unduly influenced by others. They wanted us to honor them by the way we behaved, knowing that people judge parents for their children’s behavior. But most importantly, they wanted us to remember that we had each professed to know Jesus as Lord and that we walked around with his name on us. They knew people would see us as representatives of God and might make decisions on who God is based on how we acted.

Remember who you are. Remember Whose you are.

It was a weighty thing, and an honor.

I stand a certain way when the national anthem is played. I believe the flag should be handled a certain way. I think doors should be held open for people and “Yes, ma’am,” “No, ma’am,” “Yes, sir,” and “No, sir” ought to be heard a lot more often. It’s how I was raised.

So kudos to young Ryan Baker, to Glen Campbell and to my parents.

News editor Brett Campbell can be reached at 601-265-5307 or brett.campbell@dailyleader.com.