Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | September 13, 2018

The Making of Cooper Potts

Last week almost 1,600 people gathered in two venues at Kingsland to celebrate the life and to honor the memory of Cooper Potts. Although Cooper was only sixteen years-old when he died, he had packed more living into those years than some do into a hundred. Having known Cooper since he was just a toddler, I watched him grow up to become a remarkable young man.

It’s important to emphasize that Cooper did not become the young man that we all knew and admired in a vacuum. He became that young man in the context of a loving family — surrounded by parents, siblings, and grandparents that loved him and whom he loved as well.

Cooper was fortunate to have Dave and Kara as his parents, not because they are perfect, but because they understand their role as parents.

When Cooper was born, Dave and Kara realized that they had brought into this world a living soul who will live forever. And from that moment on, they embraced their responsibility to be Cooper’s primary faith trainers and to prepare him for eternity.

Dave and Kara did not abandon Cooper in a spiritual wasteland of worldviews hoping he might find his way into a meaningful life. Instead, they intentionally guided their son to embrace a biblical worldview.

From the day Cooper was born, Dave and Kara began to prepare him for the day he would die. And that meant intentionally guiding him to receive the free gift of eternal life that God offers us in Christ Jesus.

In addition to that, Dave and Kara gave Cooper and his siblings another gift — the gift of a stable and secure home. One of the greatest gifts that parents can give their children is to love one other.

Something powerful happens when husbands love their wives and wives love their husbands. That love becomes a barrier to the things that can destroy a home — to the things that can fill it with fear. Consequently, Cooper never went to bed afraid, he never woke up afraid, and he never returned home from school afraid.

Cooper was also the beneficiary of the good things that can happen when families eat meals together. Perhaps in this case the Potts may be something of an anomaly but they really enjoy family meals. They understand the power of the table to bring family members together where they can look at one another and have meaningful conversations. Cooper loved the family table.

If there is one word that characterizes the home in which Cooper was raised it is love, not perfection. The Potts bunch is just a normal family that learned the value of harnessing the power of love — the kind of love that forgives, that keeps no record of wrongs, that does not allow the sun to go down on any anger, that looks out for the interests of others, that shows kindness, that covers a multitude of sins, and that binds hearts together.

The Potts family also understands the importance of doing life in community. The threads of their lives are woven into the fabric of their local church. They have invested much in building relationships over the years.

They also know that it is dangerous to sail alone because Satan is a pirate looking for a ship without a fleet. So, on that awful day when the world seemed to go wrong for them, they found that they were not alone. The ongoing outpouring of love and support they have received are the dividends of what they have invested.

This is the context in which Cooper’s character was shaped — home, family, church, and community. These are the ingredients that went into the making of Cooper Potts.

After Cooper’s memorial service I heard from several families. Some lamented that they never sit together at the table for family meals. Others said they wish they had a more close-knit family or had done some things differently through the years. Some regretted not taking responsibility to be the primary faith trainers in their home.

That said, it is not too late to do something to change the trajectory of your family life. While going back to make a new start is never possible, it is possible to start now to make a new ending.

Dave and Kara remind us that loving our kids means so much more than giving them stuff. It means preparing them to live a life pleasing to God, to think of others and not just themselves, and to embrace the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

If we fail to prepare our children for eternity, then what will it matter if we showered them with every toy and convenience and upgrade. All we will have done is to make our homes a more comfortable launching pad into a godless eternity.

Worldview matters. Take ownership. Parent responsibly. Hug your kids and tell them you love them every day — as many times as possible.


  1. What a beautiful tribute to Cooper and the Potts family, Omar! I miss all of you and I’m grieving (and hoping and praying) with y’all from Fort Worth.

    • Thanks so much. Miss you and the family, Trisha.

  2. Omar, what a great tribute to Cooper as well as Dave and Kara!

    • Thanks, Jim. Appreciate your kind words. Regards to the family.

  3. Beautifully said. And beautifully shared

  4. Beautiful words of a young man’s spiritual formation, which began in his home of faithful believing parents.

    • Thanks, Janice. It was a privilege to watch his spiritual journey unfolding.

  5. This is a very powerful writing. Gentle reminder to all of us that think material things will make our kids happy. Thank you for writing such a beautiful tribute.

    • Thanks, Aubrey. Cooper’s death has certainly caused me to think more deeply about a lot of things.

  6. Thank you for posting this. I loved hearing it and being able to read it is so amazing. What a great family and a true blessing you are to them as well Omar.

    • You’re welcome, Mindy. Love this sweet family.

  7. Well said!! Kara and Dave are role models.. the unity among their family and their love for Jesus is evident! I pray that at the end of my life that people will be able to say the same for me!
    Coopers service was just beautiful. You did a great job. This family touched so many hearts and lives thanks for sharing! We love all of our Texas family and look forward to serving together in the future!

    • Thanks, Tesha. Good and kind words. And we love our Amazon Angels.

  8. Omar this was a beautiful tribute to Cooper. Can you tell me the name of the poem you shared at Cooper’s memorial service? I think it was from Corrie Ten Boom?

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