A Mother Touch--





     We took the transfer car to Omaha. We enjoyed our breakfast very much. There came into the depot a woman about forty years old, followed by a large flock of children. One boy about ten years old went out on the platform. This mother went after him and came dragging him in, he resisting at every step. She pushed him with violence into the seat, bringing his head with considerable force against the back of the seat, really hurting the lad. Then came screech after screech, equaled only by the screaming engine. This mother threatened him, but to no purpose. He was in for a regular war cry. When he became tired out, then he lowered his voice to the monotonous long-drawn-out drawling cry just for the purpose of being persevering and revengeful. Here the mother, I judge, was as much to blame as her boy. The boy was stubborn; she was passionate.

     I conversed some with the mother. She stated the boy [had] refused to come in and threw himself full length on the platform. She then took him by force and brought him in. Said she, "Oh, if I only had him alone in some place, I would pound him well for his behavior," I said, "That would not change his inward feelings. Violence would only raise his combativeness and make him still worse. I think the more calm the mother can keep at such times, however provoking be the conduct of her children, she maintains her dignity and influence as a mother." She assented that it might be so.

     I inquired, "How many children have you?" She answered, "Eleven," pointing to two bright-looking little girls. "These are my youngest--one is six, the other four. My eldest are nearly-grown-up boys." She stated they were as a family on their way to locate in Nebraska, where there was plenty of land to keep the boys at work. Not a bad idea to give these active, sharp, high-toned boys employment; nothing so good as plenty to do in open air, to keep children from being ruined with the temptations and allurements to evil in this life.

     It was plain to be seen the mother was fretful, impatient, harsh, and severe. What wonder, then, that the children should be unsubmissive and insubordinate. These children, eleven in number, and the husband, showed they felt the mother's power that permitted no liberty of will. She would jerk one, fret at another, twitch about another, and answer her husband's questions with a firm vim.

     This mother's mode of government set my mind on a study. She forced them to self-assertion in various improper ways, showing the mother's management was a sorry failure. There were eleven bright, active children. If the mother had the machinery oiled with patience and self-command, as every mother should have, if she had possessed the right spirit, she would not have aroused the combative spirit of her ten-year-old boy. All this mother seemed to know of government was that of brute force. She was threatening, intimidating. Her youngest children seemed to have a fear to stir; others looked hard and defiant. Some looked ashamed and distressed. I longed to preach a sermon to that mother.

     I thought if that mother knew her responsibility as a mother, she would not pursue the course she had done in that depot. Her burdens must necessarily be heavy, but how much more weighty was she making them for herself by her own lack of self-control. Every harsh word, every passionate blow, would react upon her again. If she were calm and patient and kind in her discipline, the power of her example would be for good and would be seen in her children's deportment. How much that mother needed the help of Jesus to mold the minds and fashion the characters of her children. How many souls such mothers will gain to the fold of Christ is a question. I really do not believe they will gather one soul to Jesus. The train, they rule, they ruin. But enough of this.


MR Volume Twenty  P 291-292