Reflecting Back on Childhood Memories
I arrived home this past Saturday from a wonderful and amazing trip to my home in Rockford, Illinois. It was a joy to travel (by American Airlines, which is major for those of you who know me) with my sister, Vennie, her son Austin and daughter Jennifer (my niece and nephew), and my dear friend of thirty-five years, Pat Carr. Jennifer and Pat were able to stay only the first week, but we made so many memories together! We will not forget them for a lifetime!
We did a lot of sightseeing and reminiscing to say the least! It was such a beautiful time of year, and the fall colors were breathtaking! I took Pat by all of the places -from my childhood, and she very quickly became our full-time photographer! I took her to the family farm, the old Berean Baptist Church where I met and married Bro. Trieber, the houses that I once lived in as a kid, the high school from which I graduated, the cemetery where my mom is laid to rest, and a place very dear to my heart—3130 Blackstone Ave., the house where I got saved! It was such fun to be with my six brothers, my sister and my dad. My family surprised me with a birthday party on Saturday night. I have not celebrated a birthday with my family in 35 years! Also, upon Pat’s request, our family gathered at my brother’s house on Wednesday night after church for a family singspiration! I enjoyed watching as my dear dad held the songbook in his hand and sang with tears flowing down his cheeks! It had to be a joy for him to witness all of his children singing hymns together around the piano!
One of the most thrilling events for me was being able to go out to the Edwards Apple Orchard and take pictures with all eight of us and Dad! That was a time I will hold dear to my heart forever! My brothers are crazy!!
My sister and I were able to spend precious times just talking with our dad! What an amazing man! Many of you know that my dad has been the pastor of the Berean Baptist church for 56 years! We were able to look through many of his study materials, and that was a very moving time for both my sister and me. Friday night, before we flew out, he gave us both a few of his study notebooks for our sons. He gave me a special Bible study book of his for our son, Tim, who was having his 26th birthday the Sunday I got home. I had fun “staking my claim” on several things that I want of his, but…having six brothers back there might be a problem! I will have to plan a trip unbeknownst to them to claim my “treasures”! We are all arguing over one particular picture of the family farm that hangs in Dad’s living room. I am sure that, being his favorite child, the picture will be mine!
We took a ride through beautiful Page Park which is just across the street from the church. How I remember so many activities in that place! I remember when school was cancelled because of snow, Dad would take us there to make “snow angels” and go sledding down the little hills—which I thought back then (30 years ago :)) were the biggest hills ever! Wow! The things we remember through the “eyes of a child”!
My trip back home to Illinois is now a special memory, the pictures are going in a photo album, and life has resumed here in the Silicon Valley! I am so grateful for the upbringing that I had. We didn’t have a lot of “things” but we did a lot of “things” together! Let me share some thoughts with you that might be an encouragement and a help for both your marriage and your home!
1. My mom and dad dearly loved each other. Many times when Mom was folding Dad’s laundry she would make this statement: “I love the man that wears these clothes”! Back then, I thought; “Thanks for sharing, mom.” Now, I say, “Thank you, Mom, for loving my dad!”
2. Mom was actively involved in my dad’s ministry. She helped him birth the great Berean Baptist Church 56 years ago. My mom did not have her own agenda. Dad was her agenda.
3. Dad played with us kids. I remember playing baseball and basketball, sledding, riding on the tractor and doing many other kinds of activities as a kid. Dad was there for us! Work wasn’t more important than we were! Men often don’t realize how important they are to their children. The importance of a father’s influence can never be underestimated. How he relates to his children will shape their lives for the bad or for the good.
4. My mom gave of herself unselfishly to her children. I never remember a time when Mom was not there!
5. We had a spiritual home! We were never able to leave the house in the morning before we had family devotions. Back then, I used to think, “Hurry up and get this over with!” Now I say, “Could we take more time for this?”
6. We were all involved in church. If we weren’t at a church service, we were “playing church” someplace in the house!
7. Dad practiced in the home what he preached in the pulpit. He was not one person to his congregation and another person to his children!
8. We learned how to work. We could never go anywhere on Saturdays unless the house was cleaned from top to bottom!
9. We learned that sorrow draws you to the Savior! Everyone experiences loss. It’s the part we don’t like and wish we never had to go through. But we all will. The death of my mom was the hardest thing I have had to go through in my life. It has taught me so much! When someone experiences the loss of a parent, I can truly relate to that person!
10. We had to get a job in high school. Dad was “old school” enough to make us earn money for what we wanted and, in so doing, he helped us to appreciate what we had more than we would have otherwise.
11. My parents were balanced! They didn’t have “goofy” ideas, and we didn’t have a list of rules a mile long. By the way, all eight of his children were in church last Sunday!
12. We learned to pray! I witnessed Mom and Dad praying separately and together many times, and we prayed as a family.
13. We learned loyalty to family. We would often tease each other but, if someone else ever wanted to fight one of us, we all jumped in to rescue our sibling!
14. We learned about faith. As I heard salvation testimonies of my siblings, it was amazing how many of us were saved at home! What a memory!
15. We learned how to love. Children cannot live without love! Learn to say “I love you,” and say it often!
When your children drive by the places from their childhood and reflect back on their memories as a child, I trust that they too can make a list of their own as I have done! God bless you as you raise your children for His glory, and may He help you to make your marriage and home a little bit of heaven on earth!