The beautiful fall day when I left home in southern Indiana to drive to northern Indiana — to begin my first year as a public school teacher — my mother walked out to the car with me. In her parting words was a message that has gone with me  lo —through out these many years.  I’ve treasured the memory as I’ve  treasured the words. Whether they imparted the best instruction I ever received or not, one thing is certain: they have gone with me throughout my entire life. It just took her putting them into words to make me realize that is exactly what she had done in the raising of my siblings and me.


I hear your thoughts:  WHAT WERE THE WORDS?


“Make the most of the magic moments”, my Latin and English school teacher mother told me. She explained there would be moments in the classroom for teaching valuable lessons that have nothing to do with what is being taught.  Here it is in Latin: carpe momentum — seize the moment!


As I drove down the lane, my reflecting upon her words softened the dreaded impact of  leaving home, of leaving behind a childhood fortified by magic moments. As stated in previous posts most of the growing up years —  for much of my generation  — was during lean decades of our country’s long, slow recovery from the 1929 depression. By experience, however, I knew that growing up poor was no deterrent of magic moments.


Several years ago, I had a pleasant conversation with a sibling of how much we loved summer thunderstorms, because of Mom.  Mom loved hearing the crashes of thunder – so did we. She loved the flashes of lightning – so did we. She loved the sudden change in the atmosphere — so did we. How could we not, but have appreciated and loved an event of nature – though scary to some – for us, was made exciting and invigorating?


Originating in our minds in one magical first moment was delight in crashing and flashing in the upper regions.  So it was in many ways throughout our youths — because our minds were ever being shaped by her through  countless examples, instructions and words, always honorable.  To this day, I welcome summer thunderstorms, but of course not the more violent ones. Magic moments do have their limits!


Limits or no, many times magic moments proved useful in my classroom. About twenty years ago, I did a stint of substitute teaching in local schools. One morning I was called to teach art. Students in the first class were reasonably behaved considering a sub was on hand — except for one lad who kept vying for attention. I soon learned that his father was stationed at the nearby, now defunct, Fort Harrison – aha, the magic moment – and a needed one, too!


Art could just wait!  Seizing the magic moment, I responded with how much I admired the posture of those in the military –how pleasing and professional they were in appearance, and how fortunate for him to have in his father so accessible an example – that he might be reminded just by seeing his father – to stand straight and not slouch while sitting – and in that way, he too could be an example.  To see him beam and hear his brief response that revealed a young lad’s admiration for his father was an unexpected morning’s gift – and another magic moment – to point out that good posture was all part of giving some action of self to make the world a better place, and that it wasn’t a gift that was purchased by money.


Then ensued a brief discussion with the class on other ways that individuals could give to others – not with physical gifts – but from the heart.  They came up with, “sharing my book with someone who forgot theirs”, “giving someone a pat on the back who looks unhappy”, “not ignoring a new student, etc.  I challenged, “what about giving your quietness if you finish the lesson first, so that others will have the same quiet that you had?  In your own ways, you can give in making the world more pleasant for yourself and for others.”


The students from that art class are now grown, and some with children of their own.  Do any remember those long ago moments spent pondering the realm of thoughtfulness?  More importantly, in what ways might they have gained from it?  Did they leave the room with minds expanded in the invisible activity of thought?


Two magic moments — not missed — allowed art class to continue without further issue. Thanks, Mom, and thanks and thanks, and many thanks!


For her — gone ten years, now — and other mothers:


“Who can find a virtuous woman?  For her price is far above rubies.”  Proverbs 30:10


“Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.”  Proverbs 30:25


“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”  Proverbs 30:26


“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.   Henry Ward Beecher


The great academy, a mother’s knee.”   Thomas Carlyle


“What the mother sings to the cradle goes all the way down to the coffin.”  Henry Ward Beecher

“The peace she put into my heart I shall carry all my life and share with others.”  ed.

Vocabulary words:

lo – look!  see!:  now mainly in lo and behold! (Webster’s New World Dictionary, pub. 1994)

lo – look; see; behold; observe.  This word is used to excite particular attention in a hearer (or reader) to some object of sight or subject of discourse.  (Noah Webster’s The American dictionary of the English Language – 1847 edition)

stint a specified period of time spent doing something – see Webster’s for additional meanings

vying that vies, that competes

beam – a radiant look, smile, etc. – see  Webster’s for additional meanings.

defunct – no longer living or existing

Today’s ending poem came to mind as I was finishing this post.  Once again, it is an untitled verse from Emily Dickinson (1830-1866), and has always been one of my favorites for the beautiful message it imparts:

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

—Emily Dickinson



Be kind to thy father,

For when thou were young,

Who loved thee so fondly as he?

He caught the first accents that

Fell from thy tongue,

And joined in thy innocent glee.

~ Margaret Courtney (1822-1862)


Margaret Courtney’s words aptly convey the Christian reverence for fathers that once prevailed in America. This reverence was foundational for harmony in family and society. Sad to say, evolving aspects of modern living has swept aside the old ways that made America good and great.

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) demanded that the Ten Commandments chiseled in stone be removed from county courthouse yards, where they once stood to remind us to obey scripture.

The women’s movement replaced the age-old masculine and feminine roles with an end-of-the-ages unisex role that has coarsened and cheapened our way of life, and turned America’s children into latch key kids.

The will of the people has been eroded and overturned by liberal politicians disregarding our Constitution for their gain, and by secular judges who in ruling, follow their own desires – not the scripture that protects “We the People” from flawed thinking.

Since the early 1960’s, public schools have deprived the young of the wisdom of the Judeo-Christian Bible. Our children are being taught to accept ways that are contrary to the wisdom of the world’s ancient Holy Book. We will continue to be secularly driven towards anarchy and eventual servitude to globalist leaders as long as we mistakenly choose to tolerate such flagrant distortions of truth and the consequent liberal theft of our foundational knowledge and basic freedoms.

It is left for us old folk who were raised in Christian America to convey to younger generations the old ways that made America good and great. It is for us to lead the way back to normal thinking and normal living in order to help younger generations recapture the best of what life should offer, and what American life should be. This is a commentary from the editor of oldfashionedhomeschooling.com


“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” ~ (Colossians 3:21)


Of our father in heaven: ” He shall cover thee with his feathers and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” ~ Psalm 91:4


“A child tells in the street what its father says at home.”   ~ The Talmud


“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) Congregationalist clergyman, reformer, author, orator, and brother to Harriett Beecher Stowe who wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”


“Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.”   ~ Ruth E. Renkel   ~ No birthdate or any other information found on Renkel

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” ~ Jim Valvano (1946-1993) multi-talented, rare master of his own destiny, champion basketball player and champion college basketball coach


“My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, ‘You’re tearing up the grass.’ ‘We’re not raising grass’ Dad would reply. ‘We’re raising boys.’”   ~ Harmon ‘Killer’ Killebrew (1936-2011) — baseball slugger for Minnesota Twins. ~ “He’d shake your hand and share a smile. Then he’d hit the ball a mile.  That’s Killer.” — a loyal fan.   ~ “He was one of the nicest, most generous individuals to ever walk the earth,” — Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson.


“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”   ~ Clarence Budington Kelland (1881-1964) — prolific American writer, major contributor (1920-1950s)  to “Saturday Evening Post”, and screen writer


“I decided in my life that I would do nothing that did not reflect positively on my father’s life.”   ~ Sidney Poitier, born February 20, 1927, actor, director, Academy Award for best male performance, “Lilies of the Field”, 1963 (a make your heart feel good, movie)


“By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” ~ Charles Wadsworth, (1814-1882) charismatic Presbyterian minister — and “dear friend” of reclusive Amherst, Massachusetts poet, Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)


“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” ~  Mark Twain (1835-1910), American writer and humorist


“He that will have his son have respect for him and his orders, must himself have a great reverence for his son.”   ~ John Locke (1632-1704), English philosopher and physician


Locke is known, both, as the Father of Liberalism and as an Enlightenment thinker. Though raised in a Christian household, Locke became a major investor in the English slave-trade, and was involved in supervising the American colonial systems of servitude. Thomas Jefferson was influenced by his writings. Locke’s statement on “reverence” is a remembered teaching from his Christian youth.

Unfortunately, the Age of Enlightenment that began in Europe, began crossing the ocean in the late eighteen hundreds. We have, since, been ill time-warped by secular thought into Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” (published 1932) of a future world in which everything is secularly micro-mismanaged.  ~ commentary — editor


“One father is more than a hundred school-masters.”  ~ George Herbert (1593-1632), English clergyman & metaphysical poet


“The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.” (Solomon – Proverbs 20:7)


“It is a wise father that knows his own child”.   ~ Shakespeare (1564-1616) “The Merchant of Venice”. Act II, Sc. 2, Line 83


“We need to restore fatherhood to its rightful place of honor.”   ~ James Dobson and Gary L. Bauer ~ Dobson, born April 21, 1936, is an American evangelical Christian author, psychologist, and founder of Focus on the Family. ~ Bauer, born May 4, 1946, a former presidential candidate, is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families


“It may be hard on some fathers not to have a son, but it is much harder on a boy not to have a father.”   ~ Sara D. Gilbert


“It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father”. ~ Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)


Fifth Commandment: “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” ~ Exodus 20:12


“But, if any (man) provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. ~ I Timothy 5:8 KJV


“Directly after God in heaven comes a Papa.”  ~ Amadeus Mozart as a boy.



It matters not that Time has shed

His thawless snow upon your head,

For he maintains, with wondrous art,

Perpetual summer in your heart.

~ William Hamilton Hayne (1856-1929)


Here’s hoping many fathers had happy times on their day — this past Sunday. The quotes here, I fancy, will be remembered and reread next year, everywhere – by, or to fathers, and preferably by a family member or by family members taking turns.  ~ editor


Jim Valvano spoke at the inaugural ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards) – 55 days prior to his death:  click here.