one must not watch them in the making."
-- Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898)
This quote runs through my mind every single time Dolly and I go for a walk because I think Bismarck accidentally neglected to mention dog-training. To be honest, it hurt to watch Dad teach Dolly to heel as they walked together in Virginia, and I thought, at the time, that he was too harsh. (Every time she got a smack on the chest for lunging a step ahead of Dad, I winced and thought there just had to be an easier, more gentle way to train a dog.) There’s no denying the results, however…she is the best-behaved dog in the family and a PLEASURE to take to the park!
Apparently, watching dog training and child-rearing are along the lines of von Bismarck’s laws and sausages—NOT for the squeamish or faint of heart. It takes a firm, fair, and consistent hand to train a dog or a child “in the way she should go”…and forgiveness, too, for when mistakes are (inevitably) made. Well, I’m not firm, fair, consistent, OR forgiving so it is all a mystery to this clueless spectator; watching Dad train Dolly and Karen raise kids is all Laws and Sausages.
Karen has the unenviable job AND enviable joy of being two parents at once. (Now that Houston has found an apartment and two good roommates near Blinn College, her job is slightly less daunting, but still a Herculean task!) She has to be breadwinner, mentor, chore overseer, disciplinarian, bedtime story reader, taxi driver, spiritual leader, nutritionist/physical trainer, activities coordinator, cheerleader, secretary, cuddler, cook, financier, bookkeeper, medic, and so many other roles I can’t even remember at the moment—and she has to do them all simultaneously, without nights or weekends off…and—here’s the kicker--she only gets ONE shot. They will be grown and gone, like Houston and Bethany, before she knows it. (Not a day goes by that I don’t think of the mistakes I made raising Bethany…the things I could have done better, the things I forgot, the things I said, the things I neglected to say…and how I wish parents could have a second chance!)
Karen, you are doing a great job! Keep up the good work and don’t take your hand from the plow…you can sleep when you’re old. You are doing the Lord’s work here, and though motherhood is often a thankless task, you will reap the rewards someday as you watch your children become good people who do kind things and raise your grandchildren with compassion and enthusiasm! Here are two quotes to encourage you:
“There was never a woman like her. She was as gentle as a dove and as brave as a lioness. The memory of my mother and her teachings were, after all, the only capital I had to start life with, and on that capital I have made my way.”
“Nothing can compare in beauty, and wonder, and admirableness, and divinity itself, to the silent work in obscure dwellings of faithful women bringing their children to honor and virtue and piety.”
--Henry Ward Beecher
"Silent work in obscure dwellings of faithful women" sounds about right, and it's happening in obscure dwellings all over this country. We all need to do more to help out the single moms we know (me included...no, me ESPECIALLY...because I remember what it was like and how grateful and appreciative I was for assistance when I was doing it all alone). God bless single mothers!
Hey, here’s a von Bismarck quote for Kirsten, from an 1888 speech: “We Germans fear God, but nothing else in the world.” (Like that one, Frau Buchwurm?)
***P.S. Speaking of laws, sausages, dog training, child-rearing, and other things you do NOT want to see, a bird flew into the side of the school about an hour ago. I tore into the hallway to see what in the world had crashed or fallen, and it looked like someone had thrown something against one of the large glass windows. Although it looked like vandalism at first, it’s a Sunday…in the middle of the day…and that glass panel is inside a padlocked courtyard. Then I saw a stunned dove, blinking in the grass. (NOOO! Why do they do that?)
One positive note: the dove has since moved itself into the shade to recover. There are some loose feathers on and around him, but it looks like the only thing he left on the glass was poo and feathers…no blood that I can see. (His crash actually knocked the poo out of him…and nearly scared the poo out of me! His collision with the glass was so forceful and so violent, it’s hard to believe that he’s still alive at all...)