Archive for the ‘ Family ’ Category

A Man I Hardly Knew.

Today is the 149th anniversary of my grandfather’s birth.

William Alexander Higgins was born in Iron Gate, Virginia on May 22, 1868.

He was 51 when his last child, my mother, was born and 84 when I was born. I was 15 months old when he died, so I have virtually no memory of him.

I have seen few pictures of him, and only have one; a copy of a photograph taken when he was a  young man.

I’ve been told he was rather fond of me and remarked to my grandmother as to the fact I was “the prettiest baby,” but I assume he was partial to all 40 of his grandchildren/

I’ve never heard my mother or her sisters say a negative word about the man.

He was married twice.  His first wife left him for another man in 1912 and “saddled” him with three children – an act unheard of in the Appalachian holler where he spent most of his life.

He met and married my Grandmother, a widow with six children, in 1913.  They were married for 40 years before his arteriosclerosis got the best of him.

I say, met and married, but in reality, they must have known one another for quite some time as they were second cousins.

When he was born, Virginia had not been readmitted to the Union following the Civil War; he was a child of Reconstruction – three of my grandparents were.

The year he was born, the typewriter was “perfected” by Christopher Sholes and Edison applied for a patent on the first electronic voting machine.

George Westinghouse came UP with the air-brake, and the Brits used traffic lights for the first time.

Multiple Sclerosis was discovered and named, and an element later called helium was first detected in the Sun’s chromospheres during a total eclipse in India.  The Frenchman who discovered it thought he was looking at sodium, so it went unnamed for a decade or so more.

Grandpa would not have cared; he was glad the sun came UP every day and thankful for what the wonders of the earth gave him.

He was too old to go to battle during the Great War, and far too old with far too many children when WW II rolled around.

He worked most of his life.

He farmed as well as worked for the B & O Railroad as night watchman.

He grew, raised, slaughtered, and cured everything the family ate.

He brought UP three sons and nine daughters in a home without indoor plumbing and electricity.

He never owned a car.

He never owned a television.

He never had a phone.

In today’s world, with so much we take for granted, I am amazed at how different his life was than mine is today, yet he’s technically only a generation away.

I wonder what he would think of us today.

There was much ado this week on the Facebook around the issue of preachers’ kids and why they go bad.

Seems, fount of wisdom, Katy Perry who is a preacher’s kid opined as to why preachers’ kids lose their faith, leave the church they were brought UP in, and even sometimes abandon their teachings and beliefs in God altogether.

The way I see it, Katy Perry seems to wear her rejection of her childhood teachings like a badge of honor.

Although I think Ms Perry is misguided and foolish and her interview in Vogue is a train wreck, the article or post about it contains some good, viable information.

It talks about Katy Perry’s preacher’s kids story, and implies that her story is every PK’s story.

But, it’s not the story every preacher’s kid would tell, and it’s for darn sure not mine.

Oh, yes, I’m a preacher’s kid, or PK as some would call it.

Frankly, I prefer TO:  Theological Offspring.  It sounds classier, and as you can tell from the name of my site and the many and varied topics on which I post…

Well, I’m just a classy guy.

So, no to the PK and yes to the TO, ok?

The post written for For Every Mom by Megan Briggs, a child of a PK herself, is well written, well thought out, and  hits the mark, or close to it.

But, to be sure, I think Katy is wrong.

I think she chose to reject what she was taught, not because there was too much of it, or because there were no choices, but because it is just easier and often more advantageous to be the rebel.

Which she is.

I’ll make some comparisons – and as you know – this will get rambley – hey, it’s the way I roll.

Ms Perry is the daughter of evangelical pastors Keith and Mary Hudson.

Difference # 1, I am the son of a Baptist Preacher, teacher, and expositor and his wife. Mom was Dad’s wife and our mom.  She was a member of the church, an active one, but she didn’t belong to the church, and T-RUST me, the church knew it.

There are similarities too.  Katy grew UP singing in church, as did I, she hit it big, and I, well, I did not.  Perry states her attendance at church was required.  Mine was as well.

But, then I was a kid, Mom and Dad were going to church, I’m six years old, they are not going to let me stay home by my lonesome – who needs all that DFACS trouble anyway?

Her family “steered clear of cultural traditions like Santa Claus and anything having to do with Halloween…”

Difference #2, Daddy told us the real reason for Christmas, sang “Here Comes Santy Claus,” and schooled us on where Red and Green came from and how Christmas had moved from a celebration of Christ’s birth to a pagan ritual to a combined event.

Daddy was pretty smart, knew his history and more than that, knew the Bible.  Halloween was a time for kids to dress UP, get candy, and have fun.  We never had the witchy scary stuff.  I went as a hobo, Popeye The Sailor Man, stuff like that.

We even had a Halloween Party at church.

Perry implied in her interview that there was a “…political line of thinking she was expected to adhere to…”

Her dad watched Fox News.

And though my dad watched all the talking heads on TV, and was a very spiritual/religious man, I don’t think religious affiliation is a requirement for Fox News fans.

Perry’s folks were protesters.  They protested Marilyn Manson.

Dad wasn’t a protester.  He wrote the editor of the local paper – often.

Perry, like me, was taught the doctrine of separation.

The Bible says ‘…Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing…” in 2nd Corinthians.

The Apostle Paul wasn’t just referring to her relationship with Russell Brand… In other words, there’s a path of salvation and a path of destruction. The Apostle Paul suggests pulling away from the pleasures of the world and trusting Jesus is the right route to take.

Katy of course, has become a major influence in modern day media culture.

She refers to a “…higher power bigger than me because that keeps me accountable…” but she doesn’t believe in an “…old man sitting on a throne…”

I was taught there is a God, the Almighty God, and He is on his throne in Heaven overseeing the world.

Old Man?  who knows, He might be an old man, and He’s assuredly a higher power.

But He’s not only a higher power, He is THE Higher Power.

Why is it so difficult to call him God?

Katy has substituted her political activism for her religion while declaring she has to “…stand for something…”

What’s wrong with standing for what you were taught, and what’s wrong with standing for God?

And there was some blather in there about sexism and misogyny, trauma from her past about a controlling guy, blah, blah, blah.

Katy like me, was taught there’s a Heaven and a Hell.

She has decided that’s not the case.

Time will tell.

Fortunately, the article isn’t all about Katy Perry. The writer offers some suggestions :

  • Give your preacher’s kid a choice whenever possible
  • Make your parent-child relationship a priority
  • Be honest with your preacher’s kid
  • Don’t force doctrine on your preacher’s kid

The writer says, “The thing that stands out to me the most in Perry’s story is the lack of choice in her upbringing.”

Of course there was little choice when it came to religion.  Most families are that way – at least families with parents who have a religion.

Teaching kids right from wrong is called parenting allowing them to make ill-advised choices is called neglect.

But, Katy says she had no choice.

Again, I disagree.  We all have choices.

This is where my story starts…

Looking back, there were few choices in my childhood, and almost none when it came to church, the Bible, and God’s son our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…but in reality,  I like Katy, had a choice.

One either chooses God or rejects God.

It’s pretty simple looking back, but at the time it was tough.

I don’t remember thinking as a child, “…the minute I get out of this house I’m never going to church again…” but for a while, I had little time for God, the church, or religion.

I know we were there every time the doors were open, Sunday School, Worship Service, Wednesday Night Bible Study, Revivals, Bible School.

Heck, I’ve been to more funerals and weddings than most people.

We went, and though the choice wasn’t ours, it didn’t turn me off on God.

But I strayed.

I went a while without opening my Bible.

I went a while without praying.

I made some bad choices.  I won’t call them mistakes, because they were decisions.  My decisions.

And for a while, I like Katy, saw things differently.  But I, unlike Katy, came back.

Thank God for that.

The Bible says “…Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it…”

That’s pretty much a promise if you ask me.

Teach the children well.

Tell them what you believe is true and sure.

As parents, do all you can.

But in the end, it is still the option of the child.

There were five of us.

The older two never strayed…I mean never strayed…it was annoying, and a standard I decided early on I’d never make.

The last three of us – well, we strayed.

And for a while we stayed.

But, always in the back of my mind there was that “Train UP the child” thing.

As a kid, it was fitting in.

Germantown wasn’t easy for a Baptist preacher’s kid.

There were temptations, there was acceptance, and there were entertainment options so to speak.

Dancing was forbidden.

I loved to dance.

I danced.

I still dance.

But, always in the back of my mind, I knew some things, some of the choices, weren’t right.

I wonder, if Katy feels that way.

What Katy doesn’t say and where we differ is I believe that if the Devil can’t get to the preacher, he will try to get to his kids, and if the preacher isn’t watching, he can lose them to Satan.

It happens, and it was happening to me.

But, always in the back of my mind, it was a choice.

I chose for a season to reject what I’d been taught.

I chose for a season to ignore what I’d been taught.

And I chose for a season to do what I wanted.

When it all comes down to it, it’s all about choices. One can be taught one way all their life, but their own free will determines the path they will take.

Katy’s folks gave her choices, she just rejected them.

For me, in the end, it was my choice to choose their choice.

Looking back, I see now how fortunate I was.  I heard things growing UP that most people never got to hear.  Not everyone had a dad who knew the Bible like mine did.  Not every kid heard the Bible stories told by someone who really knew them, really studied them, and really loved them.

Not everyone was fortunate enough to be a Preacher’s Kid.

 

If you’d like to read the article please go to For Every Mom – here’s the link…

Katy Perry and Why You Need to Give Your Christian Kid Choices

It’s a great blog every day.

Just a note…

  • “If there’s one thing I’ve heard from disgruntled preacher’s kids, it’s that they couldn’t stand the hypocrisy they witnessed.”
    • Let me be clear; I can’t not conjure UP one example of hypocrisy in either of my parents.
  • Don’t force doctrine on your preacher’s kid
    • I disagree – entirely. Parents, preachers or not, are supposed to teach their children what they believe is right and give them enough space to opt in or out.

Although we are still singing Sankey’s songs, still marveling at the miracles of Monet, still pondering the paintings of Picasso, and still savoring the sonnets of Shakespeare we often fail to realize that we all cast a shadow.

My Aunt Diddie passed away last night.  She was the sole surviving link to my mother’s generation; the gateway to another age as she lived 100 years, seven months, and 22 days.

It was not unexpected, and though we grieve for our loss, at 100 years and in failing health, she’s truly much better off.

She’s gone, but she’ll not be forgotten.

Willie Agnes Higgins Ward was born on June 11, 1916.  The Great War was raging in Europe, Woodrow Wilson was in the White House, and the tiny town of Longdale Furnace, Virginia boasted 2 cars.

Her family didn’t have one.

But, they did have a buggy and a horse named Prince.

She saw the Fair Deal, the sirens celebrating the end of WW I terrified her as a child, she saw the New Deal, World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, Grenada, Desert Storm, Kosovo, and the Gulf War.

She lived through every President from Woodrow Wilson to the inauguration of Donald Trump. She worked the voting polls in her tiny town of Goshen until she was 90.  She campaigned for candidates, encouraged people to vote and told them it wasn’t just a right, it was a responsibility.

She promoted good citizenship.

She fought for her rights, taking the Commonwealth of Virginia to task when they took her land for a road and getting a better sum than offered even if it was still disgraceful!

She taught a town to add and write and read, and today there are hundreds of mothers and grandmothers reading to their children who were taught to read by Mrs. Ward, Miss Willie, or Aunt Diddie, depending on where you fell into the spectrum.

She taught a town to worship God by going to church every Sunday she was well, teaching a Sunday School class into her late 90s, and telling everyone she met that Jesus loved them and wanted them to go to Heaven and all they had to do was ask.

She kept a garden until she was at least 94, and had chickens.

My ½ first cousin once removed (it matters) said, “…as a little girl I remember seeing these hands brush very long hair and wind it UP into a perfectly imperfect roll around her head.  I was in awe.”

We all were.  She never cut, colored, or changed her hairstyle in my life time.

Tami went on to say, “…I remember these hands setting out a 12 course dinner even though we purposely gave her no notice that we were coming so she wouldn’t go to any trouble…”

So do I.  If she knew I was coming she’d make my favorite meal; fried pork chops with the fat so crisp it shattered, mashed potatoes, and butter beans.

She had dinner for 40 every Sunday.

40.

Her two daughters provided her with 12 grandchildren and more greats and great-greats than I can count.  She’s adored by all of them, and they are heartbroken today but realize that she’s where she wants to be, and I’m sure Mother was so happy to see her there.

Aunt Diddie (L) and Mother

From year to year, decade to decade, from generation to generation, and from one century and into another, the long shadow of a little woman casts its calming cooling shade on many.

I’m so glad I’m one of them.

The Essentials

H Khan

When the father of the late Capt. Humayan Khan pulled a copy of the US Constitution from his pocket and admonished Donald Trump to read it, I was immediately reminded of my dad.

MOTHER AND DADDY 3

No, dad wasn’t a Muslim, he was a Baptist preacher.

No, he didn’t lose a son in war.

And no, he was not a Democrat.

Really, so not a Democrat.

But, one thing he and Mr. Khan have in common is they are the only two people I know of who carried around a copy of the US Constitution.

As a matter of fact, he gave me a pocket sized copy, which I’m sure I have somewhere in my ready for the next Hoarders episode house!

Yep, it’s the little things that bring back the memories.

There were four things that Dad could put his hands on at any given time; the Bible, a gun, a “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation” tract, and a copy of the US Constitution.

Ah, the essentials.