By George Schroeder | Broadcast Reporter
Dedicated to my father and my grandfather.
Many people are named after family members. This is not uncommon. I have known many, many people who have been named after their dad, mom, grandparents, great-grandparents and even aunts or uncles. However, I haven’t met many people who are fifth generation holders of their respective familial name, like I am.
I am George the fifth. Starting with my great-great-grandfather, the oldest Schroeder boy has received the same name. Not to come across as arrogant or egotistical, but I am incredibly proud of my name. Not because of the name itself or what I have made out of it, but because of the legacy behind it and the great men who have held it before me.
Let me begin by saying that I haven’t always felt this way. I have never disliked my name or wanted a new one, but until recently, I had never put much thought into it. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you much about George the first, but I can tell you about the others.
My full name is George William Schroeder. (I know, it sounds like I’m next in line for the crown). That name comes directly from my great grandfather. A man I never knew, but whose family nickname Baylor students will approve of: “Papa Bear.”
George W. Schroeder, George the second, was an Executive Officer for the Brotherhood Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. This organization is no longer in existence, but had many, constantly shifting focuses, but was primarily dedicated to educating boys and men, and involving them in missions. Both my father and grandfather think very highly of him, and it humbles me to think I was named after him.
George Torrington Schroeder, my grandfather and George the third, is also a highly accomplished man. He served in the coast guard, plays the trumpet and is a successful and respected ophthalmologist and a small business owner in Arkansas. He is also a grandfather of thirteen. Trust me, everyone who meets him loves Papa.
George Frederick Schroeder, my dad, George the fourth, has been a sports writer since I was born (until very recently), constantly achieving higher and higher ranks the the world of media. Coincidentally, he was hired by the Southern Baptist Convention early this year as the associate VP for convention news. I know he is very proud to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather working for the SBC.
I say all of this to show what previous George Schroeders have done. I have more than enough to be proud of from my family line. However, I didn’t write any of that to show off or be proud. All of that is worthless in terms of eternity.
What I truly have to be proud of, and what makes my name so important to me, is not their worldly successes, possessions or titles, but the fact that each and every one of these men loves the Lord.
My great-great-grandfather passed down a Christian tradition to his son, my great-grandfather. My great-grandfather passed down the same love of Christ to my grandfather, and he passed it down to my father. Now my dad has instilled Christian values in me. They know following Christ is more important than anything this world has to offer.
What’s more, the amount of respect my dad and papa have for their fathers and grandfathers is unparalleled. Of course when I acted like an ignorant, jerk high school boy, I wasn’t respecting my dad. But the truth is, I have always had more respect for my father than anyone else in the world, period. (Papa, you come in at a close second).
With that in mind, seeing how much they value their father’s legacy has only planted a seed of reverence in me that otherwise wouldn’t be there. It only continues to grow as I learn more and more about the name.
I am immensely proud of my name. The men who have held it before me are models of true success, integrity and manhood. I am beyond blessed that they followed Christ, because following their example, so will I. I have taken their values and molded them into my life, making them my own, while understanding their intentions.
This isn’t arrogance. I’m proud of my name. There is no other name I would rather have. I am proud of what it represents and what I have seen from it, firsthand.
If you aren’t proud of your name, then make it something to be proud of and start your own legacy. It’s a wonderful feeling to be apart of an active tradition, especially with a name as great as “George.”
With God before me and the incredible Georges behind me, I know I’ll succeed wherever I’m going. I have men of the Lord to look up towards and fall back on for whatever I might need.
One day, the sixth George will understand what I have come to understand. Hopefully he will also follow in their same legacy.
Dad and Papa, I love you, and thank you for everything.