What view are we providing for our children?

What View Are We Providing For Our Children

The Rev. Arthur W. Hewitt, author, poet, and pastor in rural Vermont, told a story that became one of my father’s favorites.

One Sunday after worship, Pastor Hewitt and his wife drove a teenage girl to her home. The road skirted along a beautiful lake. He was alternately looking at the lake and the road when the young girl said, “Stop! We’re here.”

Pastor Hewitt looked at her house that was a little more than a shack on the hillside. The young girl saw shock and surprise on his face as he looked at her home.

“Oh sir,” she said as if to apologize, “it’s not much to look at, but it is a wonderful place to see from.”

“That phrase nailed me to my pew,” Dad said each time he recounted the story. And I agree; those words keep rolling over and over in my mind, too: A wonderful place to see from.

Isn’t that what home is? A wonderful place to see from.

Isn’t that what we all strive to give our children — a creative, healthy and wonderful place to see from? A place that instills security and trust. A place that becomes a palace where all members are treated like royalty by the respect and kindness that each is shown. A place where love’s warmth and depth accepts the uniqueness of each person.

A wonderful place to see from.

Home is a place that births everything children are and ever shall be. It is a nursery that brings children into the world, and then brings the world to the children. It is their first school, helping them discover their talents and develop their skills, giving them both a sense of wonder and a sense of yonder.

For many years, a cherished cross-stitched quotation hung on the den wall in our family home. It was framed and given to Mom and Dad by my sister, Rachel, who labored long hours with a needle and thread. It read:

“All the love we come to know in life springs from the love we knew as children.”

Of course, every parent hopes and prays that the child will develop far beyond what is received in the home. As Dad often reminded us, “You are standing on our shoulders; you must see farther than we have. And you must do more.”

But if our children are to see farther, and do more, we must make sure that home is a wonderful place to see from. And that home gives them a system of values and principles that will launch them well-equipped into whatever adventure is ahead.

As I look at my own home now, its nest empty, I wonder what view of life I gave my children — what I taught them, what they learned. It would be nice if those were the same things! Even so, I hope at least I’ve given them a wonderful place to see from — a secure place, a loving place, an accepting place and some solid shoulders to stand on.

This column was originally published as part of my “Looking Homeward” series at Herald-Dispatch.com.