Book Title: The Real Home
When the little fellow trudges after father, gets in his way, asks questions from morning till night, views with worshipful eyes all his daddy does, - that is the father’s sowing time, and upon his faithfulness as a sower depends the quality of the harvest.…
At the time when the boy begins to feel that he is a man, he needs lessons tactfully taught with reference to manliness….
Now is the time he needs occupation that will employ his energies. Something is required to strengthen his character building, to develop his sense of responsibility. He needs to be kept busy so there will not be time for idling and harmful associations. If he can work with his father, so much the better.
“May I have Harry Warren as my partner, father?” asked a boy. “I like him, and he doesn’t have any chance at all.”
“A partner, Robert, did you say? Partner in what?”
“A partner is my work, and in learning things, and in making experiments.”
“But am I to be dropped?” inquired father.
“Of course not; you’re the head of the firm. But can’t you help two boys as well as one?”
“But why do you say Harry has no chance?”
“Because there isn’t a place in their big house for a boy’s workshop. I know, for I went home with Harry last night. Honest, father, their house has parlors, library, music room and all. Everything is so very nice, Harry can’t have a good time even in his own room, for that’s nice too. He took me there to see a bird’s nest and some rocks; but when we got there, they were gone. He asked his mother about them, and she just laughed and said they couldn’t have such rubbish in his pretty room. My, but he looked glum! I think they might as well throw him in the street along with the stones.”
“But do you think his parents would be willing he should come here?”
“I know they won’t care. I don’t s’pose they know where he goes anyhow. Sometimes he doesn’t see his father for a week; his mother goes to parties and clubs. Harry gets awfully lonesome, so he goes most anywhere evenings.”
“Bring him here, Robert.”
So the partnership began. Robert’s father had studied how to keep his boy in partnership with him. He had studied nature, machine shops, factories, libraries, and thus added to his fund of information. He made experiments, and his boy was interested, occupied, delighted.
Robert and Harry learned to use both brains and hands in the workroom. They built boats and bridges, stretched telegraph wires and sent messages.
Suddenly Mr. Warren “came to himself,” and sought his boy. A promising young man who had learned to play cards in the Warren home became a gambler and shot himself. As the news was told to Mr. Warren, he thought of his son. Where was he?
“Where is our Harry, Margaret?” he inquired of his wife.
“Why, really, I don’t know, Dudley. He has been out evenings a great deal lately. Perhaps he is with Robert King, on Oak Street.”
“Can you tell me where Harry Warren is?” Mr. Warren inquired later, as the door of Mr. King’s residence opened in response to his ring.
Harry heard his father’s voice. “Oh, papa, come here and see what we are doing!” he exclaimed. As Mr. Warren stood in the door, he saw half-finished boats and cases of tools; and the meaning of it all was clear.
“See, papa! We are printing a paper,” said Harry as he pointed to the hand press. “Isn’t this a nice room?” he inquired. “I’m Robert’s partner, and we’re learning so much. His father helps us. It’s the best place I ever saw. I wish all boys had such a chance.”
Such a room furnished recreation as well as occupation. If boys earn the money to provide its equipment, they will prize it all the more. –Selected
In the country, boys have privileges not enjoyed by those in cities. One boy helped his father plant some apple trees. “Beginning next month, the borers must be hunted,” said the father.
“How often? How long?” queried the boy.
“Once a month in summer – for years. I’m going to leave it with you to see they do no harm.”
The boy dug, cut, and wired out the small enemies for years. He found sometimes that once a week was necessary. Boys invited him to ball games and to go swimming, but he stayed by the trees. That was his task. That boy has worked patiently at the roots of some other things than trees since those days.
Organized play and manual training do not educate as does plain hard work that must be done again and again. Boys and girls who learn to do that which they fear or dread, at the right time and in the right way, without being told or watched, have material of a stouter weave blended with the character, which imparts strength and reliability. A few words of encouragement from father or mother when strength is nearly spent will make the partnership between parent and child more complete.
THE FATHER’S PART
There comes a time when parents wonder what power has gripped their boy. He asserts his importance. He is an offense to himself and others. He demands his freedom, he resents questioning, his conduct is mysterious. He is disagreeable at home, wants no advice from mother – or from father either. He imitates “the fellows” he chooses as associates. Some of this “friends” are not those his real friends would select for him.
The boy has reached the parting of the ways between boyhood and manhood. Here is where he is most liable to go wrong, and where it is hardest to help him. Then comes the time when he will turn to his father if that father has been true and has kept his heart’s door open wide to his son, watching, waiting for his confidence and companionship. A mother may help by her influence and her prayers; but just then what every boy needs is a wise, clean, tactful, Christian father….
The faithful father is the one to impart to his son the knowledge concerning his physical being. These truths should come from no other lips. How jealously father will watch lest impure information be given which will ruin both the body and the soul of his child! He will warn him of danger; teach him how to overcome temptation; encourage noble, manly ideals; and watch lest the character be spoiled by self-indulgence and sin.
Pitfalls to character are so artfully concealed, temptations are so attractive and numerous and persistent, if ever a boy needs help from his father on earth and from his Father above, it is during this critical, dangerous period of his life.
This is how one father saved his son:
“Where is Jack?” asked Mr. Rogers, as he came in at six o’clock. “He was late to dinner last night, and he’s going to be late again to-night.”
“I saw him with that Jones girl,” answered his daughter Dorothy. “She is a new girl in town, very pretty, but terribly bold. I’m sure she’s not nice. I do wish Jack wouldn’t go with her.”
It took Mr. Rogers a long time to get out of his overcoat and take off his gloves. Generally he was full of boyish spirits when the day’s work was done. Now he was very quiet, and he looked long and absently out of the window.
Presently the door opened, and Jack came in.
“Jack,” said his father, “I want to show you something.”
Relief and interest showed instantly in the boy’s face. The dreaded question was not to be asked, after all.
Mr. Rogers led the way to his workroom in the attic. There were his carpenter bench, and his tools, and his lathe, and in the corner was the dynamo that worked it. Jack had seen them all many times.
”What is it, father?” he asked.
Mr. Rogers laid his hand upon the dynamo. “Jack, by means of this, a mysterious power becomes mine. We call it electricity, but no one knows what it is. We only know that if we treat it in the right way, it will enable us to do wonderful things. It will work our mills, and light our houses and our streets, and run our cars. It will enable man to do more than any other power that has been discovered. But at the same time, if you treat it in the wrong way, it will strike you dead!”
“Yes, father, I know that,” said Jack.
His father turned toward him with an earnestness that Jack had never before seen in his face. “There is another power very like that in its results. There is the mysterious feeling that men have for women, and women have for men. Treat that right, and it will bless your life and ennoble it, and make you ten times – yes, a hundred times – the man you could ever be without it. Nothing on earth will do so much for you if you treat it right. But treat that feeling wrong, and it will curse you, and blast your life, and kill your soul!”
For a moment they looked each other square in the eye, then together they went downstairs in silence. In the hall below, Jack laid his hand on his father’s arm. “I know what you mean, father, and I know it’s true!” he whispered. – “Youth’s Companion.”…
MAKE THE PATHWAY EASY
The Christian pathway needs to be made very plain for young feet. Even older persons sometimes stumble because it is so simple.
A student in a military school was about to be graduated with honors; but he broke some rules, and the rebuke received from his father made him so angry that he vowed he would live at home no longer.
But he because calmer, regretted his hasty temper, returned to his father, threw his arms about his neck, and said: “Father, I’ve done a very wicked thing. I’m sorry I have abused you so. Can you forgive me?”
A quick embrace and a father’s kiss removed the sense of guilt, and never afterward did the son treat his father with disrespect.
This young man later entered the army and became a colonel. He was wounded in battle, gangrene followed, and thus his father found him. Life was nearly gone, and he was expected soon to die. He rejoiced to see his father, but said in a faint voice: “You must do the talking now. I am almost gone.”
The father returned from a short walk with the surgeon, and the colonel asked him to sit down by him.
“Have you been talking to the surgeon?” he inquired.
“What did he say about me?”
“He says you must die.”
“How long does he think I can live?”
“Not more than four days, and you may go at any moment.”
“Father, you must not let me die now,” he exclaimed. “I am afraid to die. I’m not prepared to die. If I must, do tell me how. I know you can, for I’ve heard you do it for others.”
This was no time or place for tears. There was work to be done, and done at once. There was no hesitation. Instantly the Spirit said to the father: “Tell him of the school incident. That is what he wants; I have held it in reserve for this moment.”
The father said, “My son, you feel guilty, do you not?”
“Yes; that makes me afraid to die.”
“You want to be forgiven, don’t you?”
“Yes; can I be?”
“Can I know it before I die?”
“Do make this so plain that I can get hold of it,” raising his feeble arm and closing the hand as if to grasp it.
“Do you remember the school incident years ago?”
“Yes, very distinctly. I was thinking it all over a few days ago, as I thought of your coming.”
“Do you remember how you came back into the house, and, throwing your arms around your father’s neck, you asked him to forgive you?”
“What did he say to you/”
“He said, ‘I forgive you with all my heart,’ and kissed me.”
“Did you believe him?”
“Certainly; I never doubted his word.”
“Did that take away your guilt?”
“Were you happy at home again?”
“Yes; more than ever before.”
“That is just the thing for you to do now. Tell Jesus you are sorry that you have abused Him, and ask Him to forgive you, just as simply and sincerely as you did me. He says He will forgive; and you must take His word for it, just as you did mine.”
“Why, father, is that the way to become a Christian?”
“I don’t know of any other,” was the reply
“That is very simple and plain; I can get hold of that.”
Very much exhausted by this effort, the colonel turned his head upon his pillow to rest. The father, having done his work for the dying son, sank into a chair and gave way to tears, expecting soon to close his son’s eyes in death. That painful suspense was not to last long. It could not. It did not. A change had taken place. A new life had come to that soul. Its first utterance changed the tears to joy….
Immediately the life current which was rapidly ebbing away began to flow back. The pulse, beating at the death rate, began to lessen, the eyes to brighten, the countenance to flow with new blood, the voice to be natural, the sadness of that afternoon to give place to cheerfulness and hope. The surgeon, coming in as was his wont every day, to watch upon the rapid progress of the dreaded gangrene, put his fingers upon the pulse and said with great surprise: “Colonel, your pulse is wonderfully changed; you look better. What has happened?”
“Father has shown me how to be a Christian,” replied the colonel, “and I have done it. I am better; I’m going to get well.”
When the wound was undressed next morning, the whole mass of rotten flesh fell to the floor – the gangrene was arrested – its work ended. The surgeons, throwing up their arms, exclaimed: “Great God! This is a miracle. God only could do this!” – Selected.
The healing of the body in this case accompanied the healing of the soul. Father, tell your child how to find Jesus as his Saviour from sin. Make the story so plain and simple it can be understood. Tell it again and again, till each of your flock is prepared for whatever may come.
In “The Trail a Boy Travels,” the story is told of a father who was employed by a railway company. One evening his young son went to his office thinking he would surprise him. The father was in another room. All the employees had left the building.
After waiting some time for his father to come out, the boy peered through a crack in the door. There stood his father looking on the city below; but after a while, he knelt by a chair and began to pray. The boy listened. This is what he heard:
“My Father, I want to talk to You awhile before I go home to the little mother who is waiting, and the boys who, I hope, are with her. It is about the boys that I need advice and wisdom. They are getting away from us and the wholesome habits we have formed. You know all the struggles and sins and mistakes of my own life. You know what they have cost You, and the price I’ve had to pay for them; but when I found You, I found life, with its wonderful blessings.
“I have hidden nothing from You. You know what violence of anger I had to overcome. You know what an appetite burned within me. You know what passions tried to drive me. You turned the pages of my life like the pages of a book – not one thing is hidden from You; and yet You are my friend….
“And now I come to You with our great joy and our great sorrow – the children. We love them, I think sometimes even as You have loved us. Our blood runs in their veins. They must be our happiness or our despair. In them we live or die. For them we pray and toil, and for them we would make any sacrifice and suffer any pain. And we would suffer with a great joy, because we love them with a great love.
“Now, Father, this is the problem which I bring to You for the little mother and myself: What is it we must do to lead the boys back and start them on the King’s highway?
“What price must we pay for this priceless privilege of being a father and a mother? What sacrifices must we make in order to lead them close to You, so that they may learn to love You? What ransom must we deliver to the world to prove the great love we have for them? Are many comforts spoiling the fineness of their natures? Then, Father, take from us all that we have, and keep us very poor.
“If pride is marring them, then, O Father, make us humble in Your own way. Maybe they have not had sorrow enough to make them see the shining light of the way of life. Then give them the sorrow necessary to make them see. Maybe they must learn the strength which comes from the tragic battle for bread. Then, O Father mine, give them the battle!
“Maybe they have been sheltered too much. Perhaps there may have to be sickness or death in their training school for life. They are on the wrong highway. The end cannot bring the glory of love which we find in serving You. They must be brought back at any cost – not as a punishment, but as a blessing. I must have neglected them somewhere along the way. Except what they must pay themselves, let me pay the price, whatever it may be, for my neglect. If the cost must be sickness or accident, let me bear it to win them to You. If it must be the shock of death, let me bear that too.
“And death – why should I fear death? Are You not within it and around it and beyond it, to walk with me all the way? Did not Jesus lay down His life for His friends and His enemies? And shall I not lay down my life gladly, too, for my own boys? My Father, You know my heart. I love You. You know that I love You. If necessary, grant to me this privilege, my Father, to lay down my life for my sons. My life is such a little thing for me to give, if through it the boys shall find that to serve You is the highest happiness and greatest joy.”
The boy listened no longer. He slipped through the door and ran home. He tells the way that prayer was answered, thus:
“Early that night, I coaxed Harry to go to bed. When we were alone, I told him all that I had seen and heard, and how father had prayed that God might let him give his life for us, as Jesus had done for the world. Harry was two years younger than I. He threw his arms around me and sobbed. We talked it all over for a long time, then we knelt by the bed and prayed. We talked to God as father had, and told Him we would make any sacrifice, and go with Him anywhere He would show us, and that we wanted to grow to make our father and mother as proud of us as we were of them. And now we have learned what a wonderful thing it was that father offered to do for us – to lay down his life for his sons.”
When men travail in prayer for their children like that, there will be answers of peace.
It will not be difficult for a child with a sympathetic, friendly father to understand that “like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.” The father himself, sensing his own need of divine compassion, will not starve the hearts of his hungry children.