A Father's Prayer
A Father’s Prayer
“Listen, Son: I am saying this to you as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a hot, stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I come to your beside.
“These are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I called out angrily when I found you had thrown some of your things on the floor. At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped your food. You put your elbows on the table.
“Then it began all over again in the later afternoon. As I came up the hill road I spied you, down on your knees playing: marbles. There were holes in you stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by making you march ahead of me back to the house. Stockings were expensive, and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father! It was such stupid, silly logic.
“Do you remember later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in, softly, timidly, with a sort of hurt, hunted look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped. You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, again and again, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.
“Well, son, it was shortly afterward that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What had habit been doing to me? The habit of complaining, of finding fault, of reprimanding: all of these were my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected so much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.
“You did not deserve my treatment of you. Your little heart is as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. All this was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, choking with emotion and so ashamed!
“And I have prayed God to strengthen me in my new resolve. Tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy—a little boy!” (From: “Father Forgets,” a poem by W. Livingston Larned, McGraw-Hill Publishing, 1925)
The Old Paths
(Written by a retired Tennessean preacher)
“Thus says the LORD: ‘Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it’” (Jer. 6:16).
I wish the old paths were before us instead of behind us.
I liked the old paths, when Moms were at home and Dads were at work; brothers went into the army, and sisters got married before having children.
Crime did not pay; hard work did; and, people knew the difference.
Husbands were loving; wives were supportive; and. children were polite.
Women looked like ladies; men looked like gentlemen; and, children looked decent.
People loved the truth and hated a lie.
They came to church to get in, not to get out.
Hymns sounded Godly; sermons sounded helpful; rejoicing sounded normal; and crying sounded sincere.
Cursing was wicked, and drugs were for illnesses.
The flag was honored; America was beautiful; and, God was welcome everywhere.
We read the Bible in public, prayed in school, and preached from house to house.
To be called an American was worth dying for; to be called an American was worth living for; to be called a traitor was a shame.
I still like the old paths best.
A Moments Wisdom
—Often, the weaker one’s argument is, the stronger his words will be.
—People do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them.
—If you want to know about all of the troubles in the local church, ask someone who hasn’t been there in a while.
—Before criticizing your wife, you must remember that it may have been those very defects which prevented her from getting a better husband than she married.
—What makes resisting temptation difficult is that many people don’t want to discourage it completely.
—Few things help a person mature more than to place responsibility on him and tell him that you trust him to fulfill it.
—What we see often depends on what we are looking for.
—A smile is a curve that sets other things straight.
—It is not important to be the richest man in the cemetery.
—Most people need models rather than critics.
—“You have the capacity to choose what you think about. If you choose to think about past hurts, you will continue to feel bad. While it is true that you can’t change the effect past influence has had on you once, you can change the effect they have on you now.” (Dr. Gary McKay)