My Family in 1941. In October of this
same year, before the leaves had all fallen,
these three little children would be left
without a mother.
Not until I grew up and had two little ones of my own, did I fully understand and appreciate my Daddy and his striving to fulfill the need of a "father-mother figure" in the lives of three little ones...ages eight, five and three. Being the youngest (but the biggest responsibility) when our mother died, I wouldn't have had much choice if our daddy had decided to 'dole' us out to relatives as they had tried to persuade him to do. He would not even consider the thought of it!
I am made even more aware of his struggle to provide a normal home for us as I sadly observe the modern home where the father is much too busy, and the mother leaves her children to the care of others...in the form of baby sitters and day care centers, in order to provide things for her children and herself that will perish with time.
I feel most fortunate that my childhood memories do not consist of being left to the care of other people, but of being with my daddy. The lovely nostalgic fragrance of burning leaves and wood brings back memories of late fall the year that I was four. My daddy cut wood that fall to earn money to carry us through the winter...and we walked to the woods together. Sometimes it was cold enough that he would build a fire and let me sit close by while he cut wood and kept a watchful eye on me.
He always made sure that we left in plenty of time to be home when my brother and sister came in from school. When the weather was bad through our school years, and school would turn out, my dad couldn't go to work either...and he would stay home and make stuff for us, like coconut cake and do-nuts. I see few homes today where the children get as much attention from two parents...as we did from only one. My daddy has had a vast amount of influence in the career that I have chosen....being a full time mother.
I don't remember having much in material things but what we had was far above and beyond anything that is of a material nature. In one hundred years, no one will even know or care that we didn't have the best clothes, toys and houses; however, what my daddy instilled in my heart and mind will go with me into eternity. He influenced my life so greatly that it saddens me very much to see our mothers of America neglect their children in order to have more of this world's goods.
Although my daddy was not a Christian back then, he taught us respect for the Father in heaven, not even bringing himself to call Him "God", but with deeper reverence, "The Good Lord". These are the memories I have of my daddy during my childhood days.
My husband and I were taught the gospel and were baptized into Christ when our first child was two months old, in November of 1956. Beginning then I prayed that I could show my daddy the way to Christ and salvation. So with what little time we had to spend with him through the years, we planted the seed of the gospel a little at a time and strove to be good examples by putting God first in our lives.
My heart ached when our visit would end and we had to travel the one hundred and fifty miles back home. It seemed like so little seed was sown and I would pray that we would have other opportunities to win him to Christ.
Well, it was a very happy day in September of 1977 when my dad himself called to tell us that he and his good wife had both been baptized into Christ. It just happened to be the day our first child, Wendell, turned twenty one.
My story would not have been complete without the preceding information, but the point I hope to have made is this: If a daddy can be so much of a "mother figure" that his influence is carried over into the lives of other generations, how much greater influences can we mothers be? We who can stay in our God-given places can so train and mold young lives that "When they are old, they will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6.
Even when a mother makes it her full time job, it isn't easy in eighteen years to instill in a child the character that will please God. It is hard work and it takes time, but there is no other joy that compares with it! Especially is it difficult and I would say, impossible to raise them up in the nurture of the Lord if she puts this great task second in her life.
-Edna L. Ingram, Christian Woman Magazine, February 1978