Five Minutes With... Jamie Lemmond

January 10, 2014 

Lemmond

AARON MOODY — amoody@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

Jamie Lemmond leads a quirky life. He’s a teacher, but kids consider him cool. He’s a coach, but he leads a Christian organization. He’s a dad, but he has an unorthodox family. Throw all those ingredients into one person and you come up with lots of interesting stories to tell.

Q: You teach social studies at East Wake High, help coach some of the high school teams, and have led the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Those who know you say you are deeply committed to your faith. In a time period where mixing education and faith can be a touchy subject, how do you juggle the two?

A: There is no Biblical record of Jesus forcing his faith on anyone. He was aware of people’s needs – whether it be for friendship, or food, and then he would open himself up to them. I am there to help the kids – to encourage them to make good choices If you start shoving your faith on someone the first thing, they will tune you out. The saying is true when it comes to kids, about ‘they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ Kids need to see that you are humble and selfless, and then sometimes they see this and open up and ask you about your faith. I tell them I don’t coach a sport because I am all about winning. I tell them I am a coach because I want them to be a good husband and dad one day.

Q: You are an assistant for varsity football and you coach track for what you call “the throw crew.” When you make a comment like that, do they ask, ‘What does playing on a football team have to do with being a good father one day?

A: I don’t know of any job in the world than is harder than being a parent. Being a good husband is equally important. Being a parent and being a member of a team is all about being committed. They are both about being selfless and dedicated. Being a parent and being on a team is 24/ 7 – they are full time. You can’t practice with the team one day and the next, say you don’t feel like it. It is not on again/off again. It is the same thing with being a parent. Winning is a by-product of doing things the right way. In sports, and in life.

Q: So tell us about your wife and kids.

A: My wife, Mandi, and I have been married 14 years. I am from southern Virginia, and my wife is from Missouri. While I was attending William and Mary, I would attend a camp in Missouri that was part of the Christian organization, Kids Across America. We met there. By the fifth summer, we began putting two and two together and started talking about marriage.

Q: How did someone from Virginia and someone from Missouri end up in Wendell?

A: After we got married, we were living in Indiana. I was coaching football at a small college and our lives were pretty hectic and we wanted to slow down. I also wanted to move closer to home. My parents and siblings are still in Virginia. I was looking at two high schools – one in Lynchburg and here, in Wendell. It was the interview process with Craig Baker that was really the draw and we chose here. It has been great. We ended up moving into a house that is right behind Wendell Baptist. We can walk to church. I was the interim part-time youth pastor one summer. I now teach Sunday school – the high school students, so I am around them six days a week.

Q: What are the ages of your children?

A:“Zeke is eleven, Rayna is nine, Addie is seven and Jeb is five.

Q: Is Jeb short for the Biblical name, Jebediah?

A: We adopted Jeb and that was the name he had in the orphanage in Zambia. The nurse actually called him Jebjeb.

Q: Today, three kids are considered a fairly large family. Why number four, and why adopt?

A: We wanted more kids. Both my wife and I had been thinking about adoption for a fairly long time. The more we began looking into it, the more of the need we saw. There is just a tremendous need out there. When we went to get him, we took the whole family. When you adopt, they want you in the country for a while, to get to know all there is to know about the child and where they are from, so we were over there a month. He was 18 months when we adopted him.

Q: With teaching, coaching, church, and four kids, I can’t imagine having any time to focus on anything else, but what do you like to do as a family?

A: That is a good point – we don’t have a lot of extra time, but between my wife’s family and mine, there are 14 cousins, so we like to travel and spend time with our families. We are gone a lot. My wife noted the other day that we seem to stay on the go more than anyone in our neighborhood. But family is important – I want my children to understand that also.”

Correspondent Dena Coward

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