Train Up a Child

It’s a wonder we kids who grew up on Bull Creek made it out of grade school without dying from snake bite, malaria from mosquitos, or tetanus from stepping on broken glass and tin cans.
The day that school let out in May, we headed for the creek and alleyways to play outdoors. Even I the bookworm played outside sometimes, but usually I was sitting on the lowest limb of the apple tree, reading, while the rest of the kids played ball in the chicken yard.
There was a little walking path on the north side of our house between the fence and the house that was almost overgrown with honeysuckle and snowball bushes. We little girls turned it into our “house” where we made mud pies and played with broken cups and dishes as though they were fine china.
Someone put up two swings on a strong round post between two hickory trees. We swung and swung, “pumping the swing,” we called it, until we almost reached the sky.  I am pretty sure one year Velta Lee went over the top of the swing.
We loved to play in the chicken house. I can remember thinking of ways to “decorate” the chicken house to make it look pretty. Of course, it was already decorated with straw and chicken poop, worn-out wood, and chicken wire, in the prettiest design.
Sometimes we played school. Of course, since I was the oldest, I was the teacher.
We played church. I preached, Frances, Velta Lee, and I sang, and Ross Edward our little brother took up the collection. Frances, Velta Lee, and I grew up to sing specials in church when we were in Jr High, while I accompanied us on the piano.
Everything we are today, we owe to the Lord and to our mother, who believed the scripture which says, “Train up a child in the way he (or she) should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. KJV
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The Way She Should Go

Daddy worked out of town for the railroad, but in his spare time in the 1950s, he took a course on TV repair.

 Daddy had a suitcase with TV tubes and a tube tester inside. When you opened the lid, one side was the tester and the other side held a cardboard sheet with charts of equivalent tubes and instructions for operating the tester, with spare tubes in the bottom.

 I would sit for hours taking the tubes out of a non-functioning TV and testing them. If they tested bad, I would look through the spare tubes to find a replacement. Sometimes he had a replacement, but usually I had to go to the charts to find an equivalent replacement, which I would then insert into the TV. If that didn’t work, I would remove another tube from the TV and test it.

 This technique is called trouble-shooting and I learned it in the 1950s when I was a child, long before I took an electronics technician job at the telephone company, in 1984. For some reason, Daddy never ran me off. It didn’t seem to bother him one bit to see me sitting in the living room floor for hours, testing one tube after another. As far as I can remember, he never acted as though I might break something.

 I have always said that my mother made me feel as though I could do anything and that is true, but Daddy did too. He just expected me to be inquisitive about everything.

 In 1986, I went back to college, taking digital electronics. By then, Daddy had retired from the railroad and I was living next door to him and Mom.

 Frequently I would show Daddy something from my classes or a computer magazine, and he would ask me about something he had read. I had to tell him I didn’t know but I sure was studying as hard and fast as I could to learn.

 Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child a child in the way he (or she) should go. .”

 Every child needs a parent that believes in the child’s ability to learn and provides opportunity for her to find the “way she should go.”

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