I was thinking the other day about how life has changed since I was a little boy. I’m sure that many of you can agree, that we never imagined some of the things we are seeing. I remember when I was young, life was fairly simple, and when I would listen to my mom and dad talk to each other, it was mostly about paying bills and the all little things that kept everything going. We would watch the Huntley-Brinkley report, but I don’t recall my parents discussing politics that much. In those days, the Beatles having hair below their ears was a sign the world was coming to an end. When it came to the news, I cannot recall my parents or grandparents being so upset they turned the television off because it was so depressing. I’m not saying the world was better back then, maybe it was just not broadcast.
I was blessed to have parents that took me to church. Though I did not appreciate it at the time, Sunday school taught me a lot about right and wrong. Providing a Biblical foundation for a child makes a huge difference in the way an individual thinks and lives. I personally know adults who were not given the opportunity for spiritual development and they have never been interested in God. On the other hand, I know others who were raised in church and their relationship with God today is their highest priority. Proverbs chapter 22 and verse six confirms how important it is to not only teach children about God, but to also live what we believe in front of them. “Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it.”
I’m reminded of a story my grandmother told me years ago. She was an amazing lady and as the first grandchild, I was always close to her. Her parents were devout Christians and she was also very vocal about faith and praying. Her father died before I was born and I can barely remember her mother who my great-grandmother. They had 14 children (9 boys and 5 girls) and lived on a small farm so far out in the sticks you could actually walk down the hill to the Kentucky river. This was in the 1920s and 30s and they were poor, but my grandmother was very proud of her family. She told me, that every day in the summers, her mom would fix a huge breakfast and after the meal, the kids would all line up out in the yard and her dad would give specific chores for each child. Some of the girls would volunteer to help their mother clean the house and prepare lunch and dinner. Others would be sent to the fields, or whatever needed to be done. Often, the children would agree to trade their duties to keep from being burned out with the same routines. Nonetheless, they all worked hard and played hard, and she always had fond memories of their home as a place of peace and safety, that was filled with God’s love.
She said at Christmas, each child would receive a small toy and a piece of fruit. One year she was given a harmonica and an orange which she declared as the best Christmas ever. She was so excited she put on her coat and boots and walked around in the snow all day blowing on that harmonica. However, one of the most interesting and precious childhood memories was about her father. She said in the evenings he would walk down behind their barn and pray. There was an old log he used for an altar and he would get on his knees and weep and wail so loud they could hear him up at the house. When I look at his tattered photos, I cannot help but imagine what it was like to be responsible for so many and to rely completely on God just to survive. I have a great amount of respect for this man, his work ethic, and tireless commitment to be a good husband and father. Yes, he had a tough life, but his dedication to God was definitely seen by his family and had a positive impact on each one. Maybe if more parents would pray and be a Godly example in front of their children, the evening news would not be so filled with sadness and discouragement.
Dr. Holland lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian minister, author and community chaplain. To learn more visit: billyhollandministries.com or email him at email@example.com.