By Judy Brandon: Local columnist
I know about this story first hand. In this year 2006, there is much to be learned from this seemingly obscure incident.
It was 1910 and “Decoration Day” at the old Salem Methodist Church in rural Georgia. The congregation had gathered for this special event and had planned for noon “dinner on the ground.” The table was laden with the delectable recipes of the country women.
This day was a time for reminiscing and renewing friendships. After everyone had eaten, the tables were cleared and people moved back into the church. The time had come when pledges were made to support the church for the upcoming year and direction was given for the maintenance of the cemetery.
One by one, the fathers, as heads of the households, stood and made pledges of as many dollars as they could afford. The secretary dutifully recorded the amounts.
A 9-year old boy sat alone in the congregation and observed the proceedings. He represented his mother who was home with several younger children. His father lay in the little church cemetery behind the sanctuary.
“My family isn’t even represented,” he thought. “There is no one to make a pledge for us.” As one by one they continued, he thrashed about in his young mind things that were almost too heavy for a nine-year old to bear.
“I’m head of this house now,” he thought. “My mother will expect me to do what is right.” With that settled in his mind, he slowly stood.
A few minuets passed before the moderator recognized that the boy had stood and wanted to speak.
“Yes, you want to say something?” he asked.
“Yes, sir,” answer the boy. “I want to make a pledge for my mother.” In a crisp determined voice he said, “I want to make a pledge of fifty cents.”
It was a serious time. No one smiled. The pledge was recorded.
How could the pledge of a small boy be taken seriously? The reason was that the reputation of the godly mother was so well known. Her patience, faith, and thorough teaching of her children was already taking root.
More than three quarters of a century has passed since that time. Where are the decedents of that little Georgia mother? The wise man of long ago said: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Is this Bible promise true? Yes!
The children are scattered over several states now with children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Among them are teaches, accountants, administrators, musicians, bushiness owners, secretary of state and ex United States senator. Her teachings are bearing fruit as each child actively lives the Christian faith. The children in turn have passed on that faith to their children and then those children to their children – from generation to generation.
The world will never know who this little Georgia mother was. She never made the record books, didn’t leave a “portfolio” of stocks and bonds, never graduated from high school, never drove a car, and never left the state of Georgia. Yet, she gave her children a spiritual foundation that has guided them throughout all their lives.
We may leave our children much materially…yet the greatest thing we can give them is the knowledge that Jesus loves them, they can have a personal relationship with Him, and He alone is the standard by which they must live their lives.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org