We’ve reached that time of year again, that we try to really focus in on the family. We come to honor our mothers. We come to congratulate our graduates. We come to acknowledge our fathers. And did you know that predating an official Father’s day or Mother’s day, the second Sunday in June has long been recognized as Children’s Day. We come to celebrate our children.
Even before god gave us the church, he gave us family. Yet never in the course of history has the family been more at risk and less appreciated! So many times we fail to realize just how important the family is! Often is the time we neglect or even reject family.
Both my parents have gone on to glory now. I don’t have them physically with me any more. But if anything, that has caused me to appreciate them even more.
My dad was a self-employed carpenter with just a sixth grade education. Ye he developed ways of working math in his head that would astound you. He could figure fractions and cut out a set of cabinets faster than you could nail them togeher. He could look at a job and figure in his mind everything we would need in the way of materials.
With four children to raise he often worked 10, 12, sometimes even 18 hour days, many times 6 days a week. Yet on Sunday afternoons he still found time to take us on walks through the woods, or would load our bicycles in the back of the truck and take us up on the parkway to ride. He’d talk mom into packing us a picnic and off the whole family would go on a wondrous Sunday afternoon adventure. We’d discover cross rocks or devil’s snuff boxes or jack-in-the-pulpits or the chill as well as the thrill of sliding rock. He had an infectious smile, a song on his lips a wisdom that exceeds education, a love for life and family, and feet that were so ticklish you best never touch them!
Mom made it through the eleventh grade. (That was as far as high school went at the time.) She was the cook, the cleaner, the seamstress, the launderer, the bookkeeper, the nurse, the taxi, the grade mother, the lecturer, the organizer, the tearwiper, the “hug-you-til-it-hurt” caregiver, the somewhere guilt-ridden insecure loving mom who never knew her own mom because she had died giving her birth. I never recall a time that mom corrected you but what she also reminded you she loved you but wanted others to like you as well.
Early in my formative years my parents stopped going to church. Disillusioned by a church that had trouble getting along with each other, let alone a preacher, they simply dropped out for a number of years. But Christian songs were a real part of both mom’s and dad’s life. I have many pleasant memories of the whole family singing songs of faith around the piano. And though we had no official family devotional time, the Bible was still read and seen as a guide for our lives.
Over time Dad started taking us, and then going with us kids, to church. I remember how proud he was when he found out God had called me into the ministry. I remember as well how deep his faith became when he discovered he had cancer. I remember as well how my Mother in her early seventies recognized she had just gone through the motions when she had been baptized as a young girl and came back in commitment to Christ in her later years.
Now why am I telling you all these things? That proverb partially quoted above—found in the 26th verse of the 19th chapter that says: “He that wasteth his father and chaseth away his mother is a son that causeth shame and bringeth reproach.”
My parents were far from perfect, but they were good parents, who did the best they knew how with what they had! I am so glad I didn’t waste them or chase them away. I owe them a lot for being where I am today! I pray I’ll not cause them shame or bring them reproach. How about you?