Cindy at Ordo Amoris is taking a blogging hiatus, which means that there won’t be a Wednesday with Words linkup in the meantime. However, I’ve found that I really enjoy culling something from my reading to share each week – kind of an online commonplace book of sorts. So even without the linkup I would like to continue posting a thought from something I’ve read each week. Until such time that Cindy is able to resume Wednesday with Words, I will call it a Wednesday Commonplace.
With all the busy-ness going on around these parts in the last few weeks I’ve taken a break from some of my heavier reading and have been enjoying the lighter works of James Herriot. (My hubby and I have also been enjoying watching some of the episodes of the old BBC television show). Anyhow, last weekend I was reading his fourth book The Lord God Made Them All and one of the things that I really loved to see was his relationship with his children.
With his son, Jimmy:
“ ‘Hello! Hello!’ I bellowed.
“Hello! Hello!” little Jimmy piped just behind me.
I turned and looked at my son. He was four years old now and had been coming on my rounds with me for over a year. It was clear that he considered himself a veteran of the farmyards, an old hand versed in all aspects of agricultural lore.”
With his daughter, Rosie:
“ ‘I let my heart fall into careless hands.’ Little Rosie’s voice piped in my ear as I guided my car over a stretch of rutted road. I had singing now to cheer the hours of driving.
I was on my way to dress a wound on a cow’s back and it was nice to hear the singing. But it was beginning to dawn on me that something better still was happening. I was starting all over again with another child. When Jimmy went to school I missed his company in the car, but I did not realize that the whole thing was going to begin anew with Rosie. The intense pleasure of showing them the farm animals and seeing their growing wonder at the thing of the countryside, the childish chatter that never palled; the fun and the laughter that lightened my days – it all happened twice to me.”
And the results of this habit of taking his children with him on his rounds, things which he realized years later:
“I only half realized at the time how lucky I was. I had a demanding, round-the-clock job, and yet I had the company of my children at the same time. So many men work so hard to keep the home going that they lose touch with the families who are the heart of it, but it never happened to me.”
“I suppose it was a natural result of my children seeing veterinary practice from early childhood and witnessing my own pleasure in my work that they never thought of being anything else but veterinary surgeons.”
“ ‘Maybe ye don’t know it, Mr Herriot, but this is the best time of your life.’
‘Do you think so?’
‘Aye, there’s no doubt about it. When your children are young and growin’ up around ye – that’s when it’s best. It’s the same for everybody, only a lot o’ folk don’t know it and a lot find out when it’s too late. It doesn’t last long, you know.’
‘I believe I’ve always realized that, Mrs Clarke, without thinking about it very much.’
‘Reckon you have, young man.’ She gave me a sideways smile. ‘You allus seem to have one or t’other of your bairns with you on your calls.’”
~James Herriot, The Lord God Made Them All
I’m thankful that my husband is often willing to have the children – our son in particular – join in on his projects. And I suppose that homeschooling – especially CM homeschooling with its emphasis of sharing good books together – is one way that I do this. I think that an effective teacher is a contagious one – one whose love and wonder for what they are doing or teaching just bubbles out of them. I think our Mr Herriot succeeded on this front.