The Hand that Rocks the Cradle

 

 

 

 

 
 

Blessings on the hand of women!
Angels guard its strength and grace,
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
Oh, no matter where the place;
Would that never storms assailed it,
Rainbows ever gently curled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Infancy’s the tender fountain,
Power may with beauty flow,
Mother’s first to guide the streamlets,
From them souls unresting grow—
Grow on for the good or evil,
Sunshine streamed or evil hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Woman, how divine your mission
Here upon our natal sod!
Keep, oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Blessings on the hand of women!
Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
And the sacred song is mingled
With the worship in the sky—
Mingles where no tempest darkens,
Rainbows evermore are hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

William Ross Wallace (1819-1881)

The Singing House

by May Morgan Potter

 

Fred ate his breakfast dutifully and then slipped down from his chair.

“Now can I go over to Jimmy”s, mother?” he asked.

“But Fred,” I said, “you were over there yesterday and the day before. Why not have Jimmy come here today?”

“Oh, he wouldn”t want to.” Fred”s lip quivered in spite of his six years of manhood. “Please, mother.”

“Why do you like Jimmy”s house better than ours, son?” I pursued. It came to me suddenly that Fred and all his companions were always wanting to go to Jimmy”s house.

“Why,” he explained hesitantly, “it”s cause—it”s cause Jimmy’s house is a singing house.”

“A singing house?” I questioned. “Now what do you mean by that?”

“Well,” Fred was finding it hard to explain, “Jimmy’s mother hums when she sews; and Annie-in-the-kitchen, she sings when she cuts out cookies; and Jimmy’s daddy always whistles when he comes home.” Fred stopped a moment and added, “Their curtains are rolled clear up and there”s flowers in the windows. All the boys like Jimmy’s house, Mother.”

“You may go, son,” I said quickly. I wanted him out of the way so I could think.

I looked around my house. Everyone told me how lovely it was. There were oriental rugs. We were paying for them on installments. . . . We were paying for the overstuffed furniture and the car that way, also. Perhaps that was why Fred”s daddy didn”t whistle when he came in the house. . . .

I . . . went over to Jimmy’s house, even if it was ten o”clock and Saturday morning. It came to me that Mrs. Burton would not mind being interrupted in the middle of the morning. She never seemed to be in a hurry. She met me at the door with a towel around her head.

“Oh, come in. I have just finished cleaning the living room. No indeed, you are not interrupting. I”ll just take off this headdress and be right in.”

While I waited, I looked around. The rugs were almost threadbare; the curtains . . . tied back; the furniture, old and scarred. . . . A table with a bright cover held a number of late magazines. In the window were hanging baskets of ivy . . . , while a bird warbled from his cage hanging in the sun. Homey, that was the effect.

The kitchen door was open and I saw Jerry, the baby, sitting on the clean linoleum, watching Annie as she pinched together the edges of an apple pie. She was singing. . . .

Mrs. Burton came in smiling. “Well,” she asked, “what is it? For I know you came for something; you are such a busy woman.”

“Yes,” I said abruptly, “I came to see what a singing house is like.”

Mrs. Burton looked puzzled. “Why, what do you mean?”

“Fred says he loves to come here because you have a singing house. I begin to see what he means.”

“What a wonderful compliment!” Mrs. Burton”s face flushed. “But of course my house doesn”t compare with yours. Everyone says you have the loveliest house in town.”

“But it isn”t a singing house,” I objected. . . . “Tell me how you came to have one.”

“Well,” smiled Mrs. Burton, “if you really want to know. You see, John doesn”t make much. I don”t think he ever will. He isn”t the type. We have to cut somewhere, and we decided on non-essentials. . . . There are books, magazines, and music. . . . These are things the children can keep inside. They can”t be touched by fire or financial problems so we decided they were essentials. Of course good wholesome food is another essential. . . . The children”s clothes are very simple. . . . But when all these things are paid for, there doesn”t seem to be much left for rugs and furniture. . . . We don”t go into debt if we can avoid it. . . . however.  We are happy”, she concluded.

“I see,” I said thoughtfully. I looked over at Jerry and Fred in the corner. They had manufactured a train out of match boxes and were loading it with wheat. They were scattering it a good deal, but wheat is clean and wholesome.

I went home. My oriental rugs looked faded. I snapped my curtains to the top of the windows, but the light was subdued as it came through the silken draperies. . . . My house was not a singing house. I determined to make it sing.

 

A Work that Matters

Daniel Webster

 

If we work on marble, it will perish. If we work upon brass, time will efface it. If we rear temples, they will crumble into dust, but if we work upon immortal minds, and instill into them just principles, we are then engraving upon that tablet that which no time will efface but will brigthen and brighten to all eternity.

—Daniel Webster

Doing the Little Things He Asks You To

We are so busy as moms! It isn’t possible to do all that our children ask us to do. I heard this heart-stirring poem when I had 3 little rambunctious boys that kept me busy morning ’til night. It made me want to slow down and listen to their little requests to “look at me, Mom!” It made me want to read the stories and play with them more. Now that my sons are grown, I have discovered how true this poem is! Take a moment right now, if you can, and “do the little things he asks you to”. You won’t regret it!

 

My sons: Daniel (5), Mark (1) and Nathan (3)

To My Grown-Up Son


My hands were busy through the day,

I didn’t have much time to play

 

The little games you asked me to.

I didn’t have much time for you.

 

I’d wash your clothes, I’d sew and cook,

But when you’d bring your picture book

 

And ask me, please, to share your fun,

I’d say, “A little later, Son.”

 

I’d tuck you in all safe at night,

And hear your prayers, turn out the light,

 

Then tiptoe softly to the door.

I wish I’d stayed a minute more.

 

For life is short, and years rush past,

A little boy grows up so fast.

 

No longer is he at your side.

His precious secrets to confide.

 

The picture books are put away,

There are no children’s games to play,

 

No good-night kiss, no prayers to hear.

That all belongs to yesteryear.

 

My hands once busy, now lie still

The days are long and hard to fill.

 

I wish I might go back and do

The little things you asked me to.

—Alice E. Chase

 

My grown-up sons now: Ammon, Daniel, Nathan, and Mark

Everyone Homeschools

My oldest son, Daniel, and his wife Melissa had their third child yesterday! It’s a boy—our first grandson! What a miracle occurs when every child is born. And how obvious and apparent it is that this little blossom of heaven is a student from his very first breath!

“When did you start homeschooling?” seems to be a common question asked of those who do not opt to send their children away from the home daily. I have often been termpted to reply, “And when did you stop homeschooling?” Because every single child is a student of his parents. From the first day, our little ones strive to copy us. Their daily work is to learn and parents are their mentors, teachers and exemplars. God ordained it so. They try to do what we do. They learn to see life as we see it. They are our little “clones” in many ways, whether for good or for ill.

When I was a little girl, you could buy candy cigarettes. These were actually sticks of bubble gum wrapped in white paper lined up in a cigarette-looking pack. They were really a theater prop as my sister and I acted out the part of the pretty ladies we saw on television (and our own dad), as we puffed and inhaled and ashed our cigarettes and acted sophisticated. I’m glad those horrible things are off the market! We didn’t know any better, but it still makes me cringe to think of it! We were just children, just students copying what was modeled for us.

So, to the question, “When did you start homeschooling?”, I would like to reply: every mother homeschools every child! She is the teacher for her baby, her toddler, her preschooler, her child. She lovingly teaches them the essentials, such as how to dress and feed themselves, how to identify good food, how to care for their body, how to get along with others, how to avoid danger, how to worship God, and many other basic skills. This full-time education can continue until they are grown and able to act like an adult in many ways (teens), or it can be partly turned over to other teachers at age 5 if desired. And our little ones, with such a desire to please us, comply and adapt to whatever their beloved parents expect—even long hours away from the safety and love of the family circle. It’s amazing how we as adults perceive going to preschool or kindergarten as “fun”! My childhood memories don’t always support that. Nor do the tears that are frequently part of the first day of school, both for the mom and the 5-year-old.

I remember when I began homeschooling my second son.  My first son—who was an excellent student at the local public school—balked!

“Why can’t I homeschool?” he pleaded.

“Would you even want to?” I asked, surprised.  ” I thought you liked school!’

“That’s because there wasn’t any other choice”, he replied.

That got me thinking.  Without options, children adapt.

Moms and Dads choose when to stop homeschooling, when to turn over the reigns to someone else. Let’s make sure that it is a wise and well-prayed over decision.

 

Public School or Homeschool?

Question:

I am homeschooling my son and most of the time it is wonderful. We stay very busy running here and there so he can be with other children. Even still, at times, there is some isolation and I wonder if it is the ideal choice for him?  Which is better: public school or homeschool?

Answer:

I’ve tried both worlds (public school and home school) and here is what I deeply believe: young children need to be in the security and moral environment that home provides, with a loving mother teacher. No school can replace that. No education can surpass that. It is not available in any other way, and nothing can make up for a lack in those beginning foundational years. They form the child’s character, his view of the world, his testimony of God, his feelings about his own self worth, his habits. As a wise leader said, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home”.

Children need mommies—that is the way God set it up to be. No one loves your child as much as you do. No one cares as much as you do if he grasps a math concept or holds his pencil correctly. Those are small things, but the big things–faith in God, respect for authority, self-discipline, manners, compassion–these things are best taught by someone who loves the child more than life itself. Generally, only one person qualifies for that job description and it is YOU, mother.

Now, on the practical side, it is mother’s job to make sure her multi-dimensional child is getting his needs met: spiritual, mental (academic), physical, social and emotional. And that requires much more than just following an academic program. Homeschooling really should be called “home nurturing” in my opinion, because to grow a child, you have to concern yourself with all elements. If you choose to use the public school to fulfill the mental (academic) and social needs of your child, you are still in charge of the rest, and there is precious little time left after school to nurture them, particularly if you have to do some “undoing” of habits or attitudes that have been picked up in a peer dependent environment. I think it is possible to raise a wonderful child using the public schools. It just requires so much more work, and there are far more casualties! I am not a big risk taker when it comes to my children.

Isolation is a very real issue, and it is not good for children. However, I do believe children need more unstructured time, even time alone, than we realize. Those are the times when you get to know yourself, to think, to dream . . . plus to develop ways to keep yourself happy and involved (hobbies, reading). But too much isolation from other people makes kids sad and lonely. Mom is great, but Mom is not enough. For some children, siblings are not enough either. For these children, it is up to a homeschooling mother to create play groups, attend a support group, get involved in a co-op school, set up a “club” for their child where other children come weekly to learn a skill (art club, horse riding club, etc.).

So what does school away from home provide? Is it worth it in your child’s case? That is the question that you have to ponder and work through. If you see that public school can do something for your child that he needs, then your options are to put him in to get that need met (perhaps part time) or to meet that need yourself.

For myself, here are the answers I came up with, both negative and positive traits of public schooling, all mixed together:

Public School:

Academic/Mental

  1. easy on Mom because the responsibility for their learning is left with the school
  2. child gets another teacher figure in their life besides mom, which may be helpful
  3. kids may work better for another teacher
  4. moves at a slower rate . . . wow, much slower!
  5. takes the fun out of learning because of the “hurry and wait” mentality
  6. hard to specialize learning to each child’s level; child gets lost in the crowd
  7. better than nothing, if that is what you are teaching in your home school due to sickness, overload, lack of education of the mother, lack of time, etc.
  8. homework can take up the evenings, and you end up teaching them anyway, only under duress and not the stuff you wanted to teach them, generally.
  9. bells or schedules can interrupt true learning and teach children not ever to get deeply involved.

Spiritual

  1. offers zilch as far as learning to know God, to trust God, to keep his commandments
  2. school may have some rules on manners or respect for authority that would teach an unruly child if their own mother was not able
  3. if teacher reads classic literature to the class, there may be some worthy truths taught in those stories
  4. figure that early American history will be dished up without one mention of God’s amazing intervention in our behalf!
  5. no teacher can tell the real stories of how George Washington was “bulletproof” and God-protected, according to his enemies, and how his the answer to his prayer at Valley Forge made us Americans rather than Englishmen today.
  6. remember that Humanism is the religion of the school.

Physical

  1. school is not the environment to nurture healthy eating habits
  2. candy abounds, is used to reward kids
  3. lunch is the time to compare who has the best junk food
  4. kids are rushed to eat in a noisy environment and don’t really eat a full meal, a lot of food is just thrown away
  5. a packed lunch is a test of “cool”. Socially acceptable=pudding cups, fruit snacks (that are really thinly disguised gummy type candy), chips, candy bars, cheetos, soda pop to drink (I am not kidding!)
  6. group games, sports at P.E. is fun for them and gives them exercise (usually not daily, however)
  7. learn to play as a team
  8. “Say ‘No’ to Drugs” program (might teach them more than I want them to know, however!)
  9. physical body reigns supreme (rather than moral character and goodness)—lots of emphasis on beauty, body, prowess in sports, coordination, decorating the body with name brands, styles
  10. sitting for long periods
  11. go out in fresh air daily to run around for recess, which is more than some homeschool kids get

Social/Emotional

  1. school is where the kids are, most definitely
  2. there are good kids in every class, so there is possibility for finding friends
  3. peer dependency is sick and affects every word and action
  4. a good teacher can teach a child to be orderly, quiet, diligent in completing their work
  5. lots of negative stuff comes from the kids, as many American children have been raised on PG13 movies, and other worldly influences
  6. to be cool, you have to be in the know (movies, TV, music, pop stars, fads)
  7. lots of practice on getting along, which is a good thing
  8. lots of practice on tolerance of other people and their beliefs and mannerisms
  9. bullies
  10. even though much of the socialization is negative, kids are around other kids at school
  11. bad behavior is not condemned (cattiness, sticking out tongue, burping aloud, making rude comments,
  12. criticizing others, laughing when someone is hurt, etc.)
  13. group mentality nearing hysteria takes over at times. For example, if the teacher asks the group a question, children look around to see what their peers are saying, rather than thinking for themselves.
  14. negative energy builds up. That is why many young kids cry or argue when they are picked up from school.

This is just my brainstorm of ideas. Some schools are much better than others. Your own child has unique needs. Only by studying out his needs will you be able to know who can meet them best (public school or homeschool, or some other option). We only get one shot at raising our children, and those foundation years have a tremendous effect on the outcome! I pray we will all choose wisely!

 

Double Vision

 

My Grandma’s spectacles are queer
It’s almost like a game,
She says she has two pair of them,
Although they look the same.

One pair makes tiny thngs seem big,
“Enlarged,” she says it’s called;
The other makes big things seem small­—
I s’pose they are “ensmalled”.

I never see her change them,
But she always seem to know
Just when to see things pretty small
And when to make ‘em grow!

Some days folks think I’m ‘quisitive
And bother ‘round a lot;
Her specs just twinkle as she ‘splains
“She’s such a little tot!”

But when she gives me gingerbread
Or cookies or a treat,
She says, “A great big girl like you
Needs lots and lots to eat.”

I saved some choc’lates for her once—
Some teeny little ones—
She said I was “an angel” an’
They looked “as big as buns”!

But when I dropped my mug,
And made a big spot on the mat
She said, “It won’t be seen at all,
A little thing like that!”

I’m saving all my pennies
And I’m going to buy two pairs
Of spectacles for father­—
The kind that Grandma wears.

Come Play With Me

homeschool poem

Our grandbaby Rachel with her loving mother Melanie

 

Come Play With Me

Passing through her kitchen,

I saw dishes waiting there. . .

A basket full of laundry

Beside a rocking chair.


Her house was clean, but much undone-

I wondered, “Where is she

That order is not all about

As time approaches three?”


And then I heard her voice so young,

The house at once was gay. . .

And I saw her children gathered close

To where she knelt in play.


She jumped upon her feet in haste,

And came to welcome me—

And for the lack of order

Gave this thoughtful repartee.


“It seems that work will always wait,

While time is never still. . .

I like to, while my children’s here,

Drink of them my fill.


I know in years ahead they’ll think

Not of my work all done,

But how they loved their days at home

And shared with me their fun.


And when their paths lie far from mine

And life can ordered be

The memories of the joys we knew

Will be a song for me.


The song fills a mother’s heart

At end of every day. . .

Who never could refuse the plea

To “Come with me and play”.

 

—Harriet Elmblad