My dad grew up in a modest home, a son in a family who just got by. His family didn’t have much but neither did anyone else.
Their family went to the Church of Christ in Granite, Oklahoma. W.D. Hockaday (1855 – 1944), one of the elders of their church, was very influential in his life. His son, Don Hockaday Jr., preached at the church. W.D. Hockaday owned a hardware store and he was also an encourager of good works. He helped found Cordell Christian College in 1907, with its first President being, J.N. Armstrong. Hockaday’s sister was Sally Hockaday Benson, the wife of George S. Benson (later President of Harding University). My dad knew none of this as a boy. What he knew is that Hockaday was known in their community as a good and generous man.
My dad enjoyed telling a story about Christmas in Granite during the Great Depression years. Each year, Hockaday would pass out Christmas presents to all the children in town. Children would line up in front of Hockaday’s store and wait their turn. Inside the store, Hockaday sat by a potbellied stove as each child would pass by. He would give them a paper sack with a few nuts, fruit, and a piece of candy. For many of these children, including my dad, that would be the only Christmas present they would receive.
Fast forward many years later. I remember leaving Bible class on a particular rainy Wednesday evening. After Bible class at church, 0ur family drove to a house not far from the Pleasant Grove Church building in Dallas. We knocked and stood on the front porch of the house. A young family came to the door (the entire family!). My parents had brought a sack of groceries. My dad handed the father the key to what had been my mother’s car. My parents were trying to help this family, giving them groceries and practically giving away this car. As a young boy, I watched all of this closely.
On another occasion, when I was in elementary school, a little girl came to live with us. I didn’t understand then but a mother at our church with a number of children could no longer care for them. Now this little girl was staying with our family. In fact, the whole congregation was involved in looking out for the children of this family. Somehow, the willingness to serve and be helpful had caused them to take in this little child for a number of weeks. My parents responded with graciousness and generosity toward this young girl.
I have thought about what my parents did on these occasions and how these moments impacted me. I can’t help but wonder if these seeds of the good deeds were not first planted in my a in my dad’s heart through the generosity of W.D. Hockaday many, many years earlier.
Can God use a family like yours? Absolutely. Better yet, he may already be using your family to plant seeds of faith, love, and generosity into the hearts of your children.
Children pick up so much from their parents.
They hear how you talk about the church, both positively and negatively.
They hear how you talk to your own parents, the words as well as the tone of voice.
They hear and see how you respond to others, whether with grace or contempt.
One thing for sure, our children are being shaped into a certain kind of people. The question is, “Are we intentional about shaping our children?”