For Your Child

Here are some thoughts from 19th century American evangelist Billy Sunday. He’s speaking about the concern of a parent for his child, as well as sharing a memory from his own childhood. I believe what he says here applies to all parents.

“As a rule a man wants something better for his children than he has had for himself. My father died before I was born and I lived with my grandfather. He smoked, but he didn’t want me to. He chewed tobacco, but he didn’t want me to. He cursed, but he didn’t want me to. He made wine that would make a man fight his own mother after he had drunk it.

One day a neighbor was in and my grandfather asked him for a chew. (The neighbor bit off a chunk and) He went to hand it back and I wanted some. (Grandfather) said I couldn’t have it. I said I wanted it anyhow. He picked me up, turned me across his knee and gave me a crack that made me see stars as big as moons.

If there is a father that hits the booze, he doesn’t want his son to. If he’s keeping someone on the side, he doesn’t want his son to. In other words, you would not want your son to live like you if you are not living right.

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An old general was at the bedside of his dying daughter. He didn’t believe in the Bible and his daughter said, ‘What shall I do? You don’t believe in the Bible. Mamma does. If I obey one I’m going against the other.
The old general put his arms around his daughter and said, ‘Follow your mother’s way; it is the safest.’ Man wants his children to have that which is sure.”

From BILLY SUNDAY, The Man And His Message by William T Ellis L.L.D. (© 1914)

Note re: Editing
I started this post with the Description + Image block pattern, then went to Paragraph for the quote, inserting an Inline image. You can regulate the image size, but there doesn’t seem to be much control over where the image goes. This is a Superscript.

Pleasing Dad

Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is MEMORY LANE

My response will be this trip down memory lane with poet Edgar A Guest. Happy the boy who has felt this way.

Pleasing Dad

When I was but a little lad, not more than two or three,
I noticed in a general way my dad was proud of me.
He liked the little ways I had, the simple things I said;
sometimes he gave me words of praise, sometimes he stroked my head.
And when I’d done a thing worthwhile, the thought that made me glad
was always that I’d done my best, and that would please my dad.

I can look back today and see how proud he used to be
when I’d come home from school and say they’d recommended me.
I didn’t understand it then, for school boys never do,
but in a vague and general way it seems to me I knew
that father took great pride in me, and wanted me to shine,
and that it meant a lot to him when I’d done something fine.

Then one day out of school I went, amid the great world’s hum
an office boy, and father watched each night to see me come.
And I recall how proud he was of me that wondrous day
when I could tell him that, unasked, the firm had raised my pay.
I still can feel that hug he gave; I understand the joy
it meant to him to learn that men were trusting in his boy.

I wonder, will it please my dad? How oft the thought occurs
when I am stumbling on the path, beset with briars and burrs!
He isn’t here to see me now, alone my race I run,
and yet someday I’ll go to him and tell him all I’ve done.
And, oh, I pray that when we meet beyond life’s stormy sea
that he may claim the old-time joy of being proud of me.

From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

Old Man Green

by Edgar Guest

Old Man Green you’ve never heard of,
papers never used a word of
him or anything he did.
Seems as though his light was hid
day by day from mortal eyes,
wasn’t clever, great or wise;
just a carpenter who made
odds and ends and liked his trade.

Old Man Green lived over there
in that humble cottage, where
five plump babies came to bless
those small rooms with happiness
and as time went on they grew
just as rich men’s children do:
three smart boys and two fine girls
with the prettiest of curls.

Old Man Green from day to day
put up shelves to earn his pay,
took the little that he made
following faithfully his trade
and somehow his wife and he
managed it most carefully
and five children, neat and clean,
answered to the name of Green.

Old Man Green with saw and plane
little from the world could gain,
but with that small sum he earned
many things his children learned.
“Those Green boys,” the teachers said,
“Have the stuff to get ahead.
Finest girls we’ve ever seen,
little Kate and Mary Green.”

This is all there is to tell,
boys and girls are doing well;
each with courage and with grace
fills in life an honored place.
Old Man Green is dead and gone,
but his worth is shining on;
this his praise, if praise be needed,
As a father he succeeded.

From his book The Light of Faith
©1926 by the Reilly & Lee Co.

One Thing Dad Got Right

Father to Son

by Edgar Guest

The times have proved my judgment bad.
I’ve followed foolish hopes in vain,
and as you look upon you dad
you see him commonplace and plain.
No brilliant wisdom I enjoy;
the jests I tell have grown to bore you.
But just remember this, my boy:
‘twas I who chose your mother for you!

Against the blunders I have made
and all the things I’ve failed to do,
the weaknesses which I’ve displayed,
this fact remains forever true.
This to my credit still must stay
and don’t forget it, I implore you;
whatever else you think or say:
‘twas I who chose your mother for you!

Chuckle at times behind my back
about the ties and hats I wear.
Sound judgement I am known to lack;
smile at the ancient views I air.
Say, if you will, I’m often wrong
but with my faults strewn out before you,
remember this your whole life long:
‘twas I who chose your mother for you!

Your life from babyhood to now
has known the sweetness of her care;
her tender hand has soothed your brow;
her love gone with you everywhere.
Through every day and every night
you’ve had an angel to adore you.
So bear in mind I once was right:
‘twas I who chose your mother for you!

One last smile for Father’s Day from the
Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest
©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co

Unique Father’s Day Verse

Back when my birth father was still alive I searched, often in vain, for appropriate greeting cards to give him, a man I hadn’t spent that much time with in my life. So nothing like “How much you mean to me,” seeing as, in all honesty, our relationship was mainly an acknowledgement of a biological fact.

These special days are a challenge for those of us who’ve had almost no relationship with the man who contributed to our existence. No “You were always there for me” or “You were always a shining example” kind of sentiments. A shining example he wasn’t and I think he’d be the first to admit it.

And you want to be honest about it. A friend told me she’d bought her mom — with whom she’d always had a distant relationship — a really sentimental card one year for Mother’s Day. When her mom read the verse, she said, “Well, this is nice. It isn’t true though.”

So you buy a blank card, scribble “Happy Father’s Day,” and give it with a box of chocolates. Then one day I decided to write a verse for offspring who haven’t had the greatest relationship with their fathers. This is what I came up with:

Hi Dad,

It doesn’t come through very well
to the younger generations
why grownups do the things they do–
those unseen motivations.
And sometimes kids get so upset,
stubborn, rebellious, too.
At times we clench our fists and swear
we’ll never be like you!

But Time has ways of teaching us,
then we look back and see
things more from your perspective
how you hoped that life would be.
Some times are precious memories;
sometimes were really sad;
sometimes I didn’t understand–
but now I thank you, Dad.

—C.G.

What would you write?

FATHER

by Edgar A Guest

Used to wonder just why Father
Never had much time for play;
used to wonder why he’d rather
work each minute of the day.
Used to wonder why he never
loafed along the road an’ shirked;
can’t recall a time whenever
Father played while others worked.

Father didn’t dress in fashion,
sort of hated clothing new;
style with him was not a passion;
he had other things in view.
Boys are blind to much that’s going
on about them day by day,
and I had no way of knowing
what became of Father’s pay.

All I knew was when I needed
shoes I got ‘em on the spot;
everything for which I pleaded,
somehow Father always got.
Wondered, season after season,
why he never took a rest,
and that I might be the reason
then I never even guessed.

Father set a store on knowledge;
if he’d lived to have his way
he’d have sent me off to college
and the bills been glad to pay.
That, I know, was his ambition;
now and then he used to say
he’d have done his earthly mission
on my graduation day.

Saw his cheeks were getting paler,
didn’t understand just why;
saw his body growing frailer,
then at last I saw him die.
Rest had come! His tasks were ended,
calm was written on his brow;
Father’s life was big and splendid,
and I understand it now.

From his book, A Heap O’ Livin’
© 1916 by The Reilly & Britton Co.