The author wrote:
I watched intently as my little brother was caught in the act. He
sat in the corner of the living room, a pen in one hand and my father’s
hymnbook in the other. As father walked into the room, my brother cowered
slightly. He sensed that he had done something wrong. From a distance, I
saw that he had opened Dad/s brand-new book and scribbled across the
length and breadth of the entire first page with a pen. Now, staring at my
father fearfully, he and I both waited for his punishment.
My father picked up his prized hymnal, looked at it carefully,
and then sat down without saying a word. Books were precious to him. He
was a pastor and the holder of several degrees. For him, books were
knowledge, and yet, he loved his children. What he did in the next few
minutes was remarkable.
Instead of punishing my brother; instead of scolding or yelling
or reprimanding, he sat down, took the pen from my brother’s hand and
then wrote in the book himself, alongside the scribbles John had made.
"John’s words in 1959, age two. How many times have I
looked into your beautiful face and into your warm, alert eyes looking up
at me and thanked God for the one who has now scribbled in my new hymnal?
You have made the book sacred, as have your brothers and sister too so
much of my life"
Wow, I thought. This is punishment?
From time to time I take a book down—not just a cheezy
paperback, but a real book that I know I will have for many years to
come—and I give it to one of my children to ‘write’ their names in.
As I look at their artwork, I think of my father, and how he taught me
about what really matters in life: people, not objects; tolerance, not
judgement; and love, which is at the heart of a family.
I think about these things, smile, and I whisper, "Thank
People, tolerance and love—the things that really matter in
As I meet people in the years to come I will be asking for them to
share the things that really matter in life. Provide the stories for us so
that we can post them on this internet history book for others to read and
become inspired as they in turn create history.
Perhaps all we need to be truly happy in this world is a return to the
basics of life: people, tolerance and love.
My long range plans for this web site are going to reflect the really
If I do that, I am sure all the rest will fall into place.