I was thinking the other day about how life has changed since I was a little boy. I’m sure many of you can agree that we never imagined some of the things we are seeing.

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 all the 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 off the television 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 who 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 22:6 confirms how important it is not only to 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.”

My grandmother often told me stories about her life growing up. 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. They had 14 children (9 boys and five girls) and lived on a small farm out in the sticks. 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 were told 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 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 filled with God’s love.

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.

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 loudly 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.

About the Author

Ordained minister and chaplain William “Billy” F. Holland Jr. is the founder of an independent ministry in central Kentucky. For more writings and original music, visit www.billyhollandministries.com.

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