January 14, 2019
Tomorrow I will be playing the piano, as I do every Tuesday, for the seniors at the nursing home and assisted living home in our community. But tomorrow is special because the music will consist of favorites of my mother, Myrtle Jackson Elliott, who taught me to play the piano and gave me a lifelong gift. January 15 was her birthday.
Our society currently dwells heavily on the troubles of children with abusive parents, with neglectful parents, with no parents at all. Of course, we need to be concerned with these issues and to attempt to correct what can be corrected and to prosecute those who seriously damage children.
However, as in so many areas where we accentuate the negative and hear almost constantly of the ills of our society, we would do well to take a stronger look at what is good and what keeps it good. There are many good parents like mine, parents who make mistakes and have some regrets but who overall are able to do well at managing their lives and raising their children.
What makes the difference? I think we can start with faith. People of faith look at marriage and parenthood as something related to God’s will, something involving commitment beyond a simple promise but instead at the level of a holy promise. When that kind of promise is made and adhered to, it helps people to keep their lives on track far beyond daily decisions.
Priorities like raising children well, serving family and others, attending church regularly and putting decency above pettiness follow directly from faith and adherence to God’s commandments and Jesus’ teachings. They become a way of life – and a benefit not only to the children involved but to the whole society.
Back to Mom and her music, here’s one of her favorites brought to mind by my comment about “accentuate the negative”: “You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, don’t mess with Mister In between. You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum, bring gloom down to the minimum, have faith or pandemonium liable to walk upon the scene.”