Friday, May 11, 2012

A Matter of Sacrifice

In last week’s blog, Dr. Sutherland wrote about Getting to No, where he confessed that once in a while, the best parents have to say no to opportunities that might be good—even godly. Great parents, he believed, sharpen their focus, and let go of the things that would distract them from their parenting mission.

Dr. Ethan Larson had his own “ah-ha” moment with this principle. It happened while he was still in dental school.

Ethan always loved motorcycles. He grew up riding bikes, and as a sophomore in college, he found and purchased a used BMW F-650. “It was a great bike, designed for comfort, and safe cruising,” he admits. “It wouldn’t go very fast without shuddering. That kept me from doing stupid things on it. I loved that bike.”

Ethan shipped the bike to Tennessee, and enjoyed it while he finished school. Then, he married Dolly and they had their first child. Soon after, Ethan was accepted into dental school.

“We knew we wanted to have more children and that it would probably happen while we were still in school. Money was tight in those days, and I hoped to start a business to support my growing family," he explained. "I had the idea for a dental lab, but I knew I’d need a garage for all the equipment. As we thought about it, it looked like a good time to buy a house.”

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to do the math; the proceeds from selling the bike would make a big dent in their down payment for a house. Ethan had a choice. It wasn’t really about selling the bike. It was about choosing what was best for his family. It was about self-sacrifice.

Ethan chose for his new family.

Not long after he decided to sell, a man from their church came over to check out the bike. He rode it and loved it. As Ethan watched him ride the bike away, he recognized the moment. There goes my old life. I’ve gone from being a single man to a father.

At Smiles by Sutherland, we see that kind of sacrifice all the time. Parents sacrifice to make new smiles happen for their children. Whether they give up their time to drive to appointments, or their finances to cover the costs, or their own toys so that they can do what is best for their children, we see devoted parents sacrifice every day.

That kind of sacrifice is inspiring to all of us who know the rigors of parenting. Though kids may roll their eyes, we know the truth.

Here’s to the dedicated SBS parents who give so generously of themselves so that their kids can flourish!

Dr. Ethan Larson, (with Bette Nordberg)


  1. This is a good story! As parents we sometimes have to sacrifice all the things that we once loved so much for our children. But when you think about how God sacrificed His own son for US, it makes the little things seem so much less important.

  2. This story hit home. I am grateful to be able to afford to pay for my daughter to have her jawa corrected sooner rather than later. Even though money is tight, we are making this choice for her well being. My husband is in the military and I am back in school full time trying to get my education to become a nurse. While all this can have its challenges, it is a challenge to manage our budget sometimes with a big expense like this jaw correction. It's one of the sacrifices that I am glad that we can provide to our daughter. God Bless!