Celebrated southern writer, Pat Conroy, had a complicated relationship with his father, a Marine aviator. This relationship was immortalized in the novel,The Great Santini . Pat and his father did come to develop a good relationship later in life. Pat Conroy wrote the following as part of his eulogy for his father:


"Donald Conroy is the only person I have ever known whose self-esteem was absolutely unassailable. There was not one thing about himself that my father did not like, nor was there one thing about himself that he would change. He simply adored the man he was and walked with perfect confidence through every encounter in his life. Dad wished everyone could be just like him. His stubbornness was an art form. The Great Santini did what he did, when he wanted to do it, and woe to the man who got in his way.

Once I introduced my father before he gave a speech to an Atlanta audience. I said at the end of the introduction, 'My father decided to go into the Marine Corps on the day he discovered his IQ was the temperature of this room.' My father rose to the podium, stared down at the audience, and said without skipping a beat, 'My, it's hot in here! It must be at least 180 degrees.'"

Self-confidence has its place, but there is a limit to it. At some point each of us much reach out to a higher source for our confidence that just ourselves.


J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.