Wednesday, November 23, 2005

In Everything Give Thanks

"During a cold day in November, the week of thanksgiving in 1959, we had no heat in the house, mother was very ill with asthma, and daddy had left at 6:00 a.m. for work as he faithfully did every morning, trying to make things better for us. During that week in which Thanksgiving would be celebrated, I was six years old and vividly remember that we had grits but no other food in the house and didn't anticipate a turkey; we were just hoping and praying for daily provisions.

As a six year old and the second oldest child, I had stayed home from school to help my sickly mother, who had no insurance and couldn't afford a doctor's visit. She and my daddy already had five of the twelve Harvey children that would live at 4130 Fairfax Street in Jacksonville. Mother,who later went back to college and got a degee in Elementary Education, was always a good prayer warrior and thinker. She was blessed with the idea of sending my five year old brother, who now owns an insurance agency, and I to Mary McLeod Bethune elementary, where I regularly attended.

With two quarters (which she had somehow managed to save), we went to buy two school lunches. Elliotte and I obediently went to the school lunch counter, without any fear of being harmed along the way, and explained to the cafeteria workers our dilemna of minimal food, other difficulties, etc.; they took our quarters and plates and prepared two hearty thanksgiving meals that we carefully and hastily took back to mother; she heated and prepared the food in a way that allowed all of us to receive something to eat. We were so excited and thankful for that memorable thanksgiving dinner!"

These are just some of the many reasons for which I'm very thankful on this Thanksgiving, even as we enjoy and partake of the many blessings that some of us now take for granted -- e.g., food, heat, health insurance, and many other necessities that were not available to many of us in 1959. Therefore, I'm continuing to follow the historic principle from

I Thessalonians5:18,
"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you".

Pastor George Harvey, Jr.
Mt. Chairity Missionary Baptist - Jacksonville, FL

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Because You are My Son

Tonight, my son asked me a profound and interesting question. He wondered, "How do we turn to dust when we die?" Now, how do you respond to a question like that in terms that a five year old can understand? I don't remember reading that in my "Parenting for Dummies" book. Do You? In fact, I don't even remember my specific answer. Whatever I said, it seemed to satisfy his curious mind. However, this question led to a conversation which reminded me of the innocence of his youth.

Sometimes, children's questions can be simple, sincere, but difficult to answer. Mostly their questions develop out of an honest desire to learn about the world around them. As we continued to talk, we discussed generations and how parents pass on the family heritage to their children. So, I asked him when he gets older would like to marry a lady (like his mom) and become a Dad. He said he didn't know (which I was relieved because I am not rushing it). So, I told him I liked being his dad...and he asked the famous question, "Why?"

I pondered that question for a few moments and the question warmed my heart. It warmed my heart because of the thoughts it created. I didn't think about some of the responsibilities of being a parent like changing his dirty diapers, comforting a "teething" child, wiping his face with a cool wet cloth after vomitting, or even having to punish him for wrong behavior.

No, I glanced in my rear view mirror to see the source of that simple question...and I saw my son. He looked similar but yet a smaller version of me (actually more handsome because he has his mom's looks). And as I looked at him, I thought about this is the little person that calls me, "DAD".
And my response to his question was

Enjoy Fatherhood...It is a gift from God.