I sorely regret that the title of this writing is not In Honor of ManMan. In his short life of twelve years, Sanford Harling III answered to the familiar name of ManMan. Sanford was the youngest of six children and in early February demonstrated his love for his father. It was the morning of February 5th when the home in which ManMan, his mother and father and two of his older siblings lived, caught on fire. By God’s grace, all of them escaped the burning house. One of them, tragically, went back into the flames. Yes, it is true. ManMan thought that his father who had recent hip surgery was still in the home and needed his help. And yes, it is true. Sanford’s dad jumped to safety from the second floor and ManMan perished in his sacrificial effort to save his dad.
The account of this tragedy in the nearby Southeastern PA city of Norristown is heart wrenching. It makes me weep just to think of the courageous and compassionate heart of this child. The one thing that ManMan loved to do was to play football. He was a member of the Norristown Eagles Football team. His coach, Percy Jones, commented on ManMan’s close relationship with his father. He saw them dressed alike in church every Sunday and was not at all surprised to hear of ManMan’s heroic action (As reported in the 6abc.com article entitled: Family: Boy, 12, killed after rescue attempt in Norristown fire. Jeff Chirico and Chad Pradelli. 02.06.2016).
I did not know ManMan on this earth, but I will know him in heaven. I know that I know this because I know Jesus and His love for the children. I also know of Jesus’ love for me. After-all, moved by love and compassion He went into the fire and saved me.
Our spiritual principle focus for February is to grow in the likeness of Jesus (12 Things I Desire for our Children # 2). It is based on Luke 2:52. Today I ascribe this Bible verse to Sanford Harling III. And (ManMan) grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all people.
In this way, indeed, this tribute is written In Honor of ManMan–Sanford Harling III.
OPP (opportunity for action): Use the story of young Sanford Harling’s sacrificial love for his earthly father to bring God into the moment of your child’s life. Share with them the words of John 3:16. For God so loved __________(your child’s name) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Just as importantly, instruct your child to NEVER run back into a burning fire.
Memorial Fund for the Harling Family (featuring pictures of Man Man): http://gofundme.com/sanfordharling
12 Things I Desire for Our Children: http://wp.me/P5Vfrc-8h