Written by: Alan “Flat Top” Banks, Lipscomb Men’s Basketball Alum ’82
I am 55 years old, married to my wife Stephanie for over 30 years and we have 4 wonderful children. We have three daughters named Kat, Alex and Ashtin. And…we have one son and his name is A.T.. Of our four children A.T. is the oldest.
Speaking for myself I can honestly say that I have had many blessings in my life and am amazed at how God has showered me with so many undeserved gifts. Often times I take an inventory of these blessings and when I do I truthfully feel like I am the luckiest man around. I am truly humbled at how God has allowed my life to play out.
If I was asked to rank the “Top-4” blessings I have had in my life there is no doubt what Number one would be…
It is Christ, his love, his death and Him saving me.
Number two is the blessing of my wife Stephanie. She is beyond doubt the greatest Christian woman I have ever met and I am eternally blessed that in some crazy way I talked her into marrying me.
Number three is my children. They are all beautiful like their mother and they are all God-centered young adults and could not have asked God to give me anything more.
Number four. The IDEAL Program, and the opportunity it provided for my son A.T. Bank to attend Lipscomb University.
Three years ago my daughter Alex came to Lipscomb University on a basketball scholarship. I loved the way the Lord directed her to Lipscomb because it was my alma-mater and where I played college ball as well (plus I met Stephanie there)!
During Alex’s freshman season my wife got a call from Lipscomb and began talking with her about trying to get a grant from the State of Tennessee regarding the IDEAL program which allows special students to come to Lipscomb and attend classes as well as teach them job skills that they can use later in life. Well, the grant came through and my son A.T. was one of three students to be in the IDEAL PROGRAM the first year.
As a father, I thought it would be good for him because he could actually learn job skills that obviously would help him in the future. Also, I thought it would be nice to have him on campus with this sister Alex. That’s about as far and as deep as I viewed it. I was more concerned with getting A.T. to school and home each day knowing that due to rush hour traffic both ways was about a 2 ½ hour turnaround. And, I realized my wife was going to have to do most of this heavy lifting in this area due to my work schedule.
God had a different view.
Within a week of A.T. being at Lipscomb I started noticing changes in our son. The biggest change initially was no matter what time of the day or night it was…he looked like a walking “grape”. He would wear Lipscomb PURPLE from the time he got up until the time he went to bed. He wore a purple hat, shirt, shorts, socks and even purple high-tops every single day. However, the change in our son ran deeper than the clothes he wore. He started talking and acting different and his demeanor around the house changed dramatically. When I would talk to Alex, I would ask her if she saw A.T. that day and she would say “Sure, I saw him. Chandler and I were walking across campus and we would watch A.T. walking to class and he could not take 3 steps before different students would stop him, talk with him, give him high-five and move on”. My perception was that it was A.T. was probably stopping students that passed him, talking their ears off, making them late to class, etc., etc, etc. In all honesty…I was certain Alex had it wrong.
I was wrong.
Over the past two years, my wife and I marvel at how God has used Lipscomb to benefit A.T..
This has not been a game-changer. It’s been a life changer. It has permanently changed our son…and me.
Where else could a young man like A.T. go to school and be 100% safe?
Where else could our son attend school and have the Women’s basketball coach AND the Men’s basketball coach both ask if he wanted to be a part of their staff? Coach Greg Brown and Coach Casey Alexander are held in the highest esteem with me because of their interest in molding his life for the better.
Where else could our son go and have students call him during school as well as over the summer break and take him to dinner and a movie?
Where else could our son go and be invited by one of the social clubs to do Singarama with them…and win?
Where else could our son go and be befriended by the Head Baseball Coach Jeff Forehand…and he in turn make sure he has the correct baseball attire each and every year?
Where else could our son go and have a birthday party and everyone from Lipscomb takes the time to come?
Nowhere else. Nowhere else but Lipscomb University.
Again, we thank God that A.T. has had this unique opportunity to attend Lipscomb. Additionally, we thank the Students and Faculty of Lipscomb University for showing love in ways our son has never seen in his life.
Go Bisons! #beLieve
To learn more about the IDEAL program at Lipscomb, click here: http://www.lipscomb.edu/education/ideal-program