Howard Coop | The solution is near
The old house of my childhood, torn down and replaced in the fourteenth year of my life, wasn’t much. It was built on an inadequate foundation with rough lumber and covered with hand-riven oak boards. It shook when the north wind blew and it leaked when a hard rain came down. In the winter, it was heated with a fireplace.
In 1916, Edgar A. Guest wrote, “It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home,” and that transformation is possible. Going east on Hegira Road, the old house of my childhood was the first house on the north side of the road. But it was more than a house; it was a home, for there was “a heap o’ livin’ in” it. Daniel A Poling said it so well, “It is not where you live but how that matters.”
The how in that old house mattered much, for that how turned it into a home. In it, there was a lot of loving care, and from our earliest days, we were taught to assume responsibility and—without complaining—do our share of the work. When we did something right, we were genuinely encouraged, and when we did something wrong, we were disciplined with loving care. At every meal, we were taught to bow our heads, and whether there was little or much on the table, give thanks for what we had. Every day, without exception, ended the same way. We sat, winter and summer, silently in front of the fireplace while our father read a chapter from the Bible, and we knelt in front of our chairs while he fervently prayed for our Heavenly Father to bless us and guide us in our daily activities.
While we talk about the widespread problem of juvenile delinquency and attempt to deal with it, it just may be that the solution is near: “a heap o’ livin’ in a house” that will make it a home where children are given responsibility and lovingly taught by good parents what is right and what is wrong.