The Boy and His Father - A Mother's Day Story
Topic: Homeschool Product Review
The father and his son sat together in the shade, leaning against the trunk of the old oak tree. It had been a hard day. They were both tired from working in their large garden and doing yard work. The air was sweet with the smell of springtime honeysuckle and roses - especially the smell of roses.
The yard was full of rose bushes. they were tucked between the azaleas and the hostas. Planted beside the clematis and the iris. There were seventeen to be exact. Nine that his dear mother had planted. Father would buy her one every Mother's Day. The other eight were the ones that father silently picked out and planted on each Mother's Day since she died.
The boy glanced over at the newest rose bush planted just days before. It was a pink variety that he knew that his mother would have loved. He didn't remember much of his mother. She passed away when he was only four years old. His father talked of her very little so the things that he did recall he clung to like a rare treasure. Still they were becoming foggy in his mind.
In the dimness of his memory was the picture of a kind but strong woman. She was full of life and vitality. Always doing for others, but never too busy to love and cherish her own family.
The boy also remembered the day of the accident. He recalled the last time that she hugged him and kissed him. His thoughts turned to the knock on the door and his father's rushing out while the kindly neighbor woman enveloped him in her arms and took him to her house to spend the night. The days that followed were a blur. His father's grieving - the confusion of a young boy who realizes that his mother is never coming back. Those were dark days.
The days had changed however. His father was always a cheerful man who loved living and loved his family. Although things were different, the father soon threw off the appearance of sadness and acted his cheerful self again. The father loved his son and wanted the best for him. He knew a sad home was no place to raise a young boy. So, with the Lord's help, he determined to make their home a happy home. And he did. The boy and his father were extremely happy and loved each other immensely. Still, occasionally, the boy could see a small wisp of sadness in his father's eyes. He knew that at those times Father was thinking about Mother. Those looks became more frequent in the spring when the roses were blooming and especially around Mother's Day when it was time to plant another bush.
The boy glanced at his father. Fathers eyes were pointed toward a beautiful orange rose bush but his mind was far away.
"Should I?" the boy thought. "Is now the time?"
The boy had always longed to know more about his mother, but lately he was yearning to know more about mothers in general. For most of his life he'd had no mother. What were they like? He watched his friend's mothers and how they reacted to their sons. It always seemed to him that a mother's and son's relationship was a special one. He loved his father deeply and never wanted to hurt him, but their relationship was not the same. His face reddened slightly as he thought about the kindly neighbor lady who tried so hard to give him some motherly affection. His lips curved up slightly as he thought about the embarrassing pecks that she would plant on his cheeks and the sudden hugs that she would give him. He knew what she was doing and loved her for it. Still, she was not his mother. She had her own brood to care for and to give her motherly love to. What was a mother truly like?
"Father," he suddenly blurted, "What is a mother like?"
Father's eyes came back to life and he glanced at his son.
"Mmmm? Your mother?" he said. "Oh she had soft brown hair and your beautiful green eyes..."
"No, Father." interrupted the boy. "Not my mother, but...you know...mothers. What are mothers like? What is it like to have a mother?"
"I mean," stammered the boy as he stumbled for words after his sudden outburst, "We just celebrated Mother's Day and I don't even really know what a mother is. Oh father, I don't want to hurt you, but..."
The father didn't have a harsh bone in his body, but somehow his face softened even more than usual.
"Oh my son," he exclaimed as he wrapped his boy in his arms. "It is I that have hurt you. I have tried to be everything to you but in doing so I have failed to teach you about a mother's love."
They sat there in silence for a few minutes and then his father unwrapped his arms, smiled and said in a matter-fact-tone, "But, it is not too late!"
He leaned back against the tree. "How do you teach a boy about mothers?" he mused as he plucked a long blade of grass and stuck the end into his mouth.
He thought for a moment and then suddenly jumped up and exclaimed, "I've got just the thing! Come with me."
He scurried into the house as if on a mission with his boy hurrying behind him. "Now where did I put that?" he mumbled. "Aha! Here it is it. I got this just the other day."
He showed the boy a postcard advertising a special Download-N-Go unit study by Amanda Bennett about Mother's Day.
"I almost threw this away but something told me to put it aside. Now I know it was the Lord convincing me to hang on to it. This will be just the thing to begin our study of what mother's are all about."
"Look at this!" He said as he began typing in the web address on the computer, "Look at all of the things this Unit Study includes. It not only talks about Mother's Day and how it is celebrated here and all around the world, but it also talks about mother's in the Bible. What a perfect way to find what a mother is like."
"Look at the things you'll be learning about each day!" Father said as he showed his son this table of contents:
Day 1: What Is Mother's Day?
Day 2: The History of Mother's Day
Day 3: Celebrating Mother's Day
Day 4: Preparing for Mother's Day
Day 5: Goodies for Mother's Day
"And there is even a lapbook for you to work on each day," exclaimed the father. "This will be perfect for this week's homeschool. We'll do it together."
And so they did. They had a wonderful time watching the special videos and listening to the songs. They worked on the worksheets together and enjoyed completing the lapbook. Each day they found how Mother's Day is celebrated in a different country and each day they read about a different Biblical mother and what the Bible has to say about mothers. As the week went on, the boy began to understand what a Godly mother was but, as each day passed, the boy became sadder.
The father noticed the change in his boy's demeanor but didn't know quite what was wrong. Finally, on Friday, while they were watching one of the final videos, the boy could stand it no longer. Before the movie was even finished he jumped up and ran from the house. Father found him beneath the same oak tree where they were sitting a few days earlier. The boy was sobbing uncontrollably.
The father put his arm around his son and held him close. He waited patiently for the lad to calm down enough to talk.
"What is it my boy?" he asked softly. "What is troubling you?"
"Oh Father," exclaimed the boy as he fought back another round of tears. "I have enjoyed learning about mothers so much...but...each day the unit study talked about different things that we could do for our mother." "But, " he hesitated and hung his head, "I have no mother." And with that a fresh stream of tears began to trickle down his cheeks.
"My son," said the kind father. "Did we not learn about Ruth and Naomi in our studies this week? Ruth loved Naomi and left her own country to travel with Naomi back to the land that she had come from. Do you remember why she did it? She did it because Naomi was kind to her. She treated her as if she was her own daughter. She was the Godly mother that Ruth had never had."
As the boy listened he stopped crying and looked into his father's face with an inquisitive look.
"Son," continued the father, "You may not have a biological mother here on earth, but you do have mothers. Mothers that are kind to you and that love you. Think of your Sunday School teacher who always has a kind word for you and congratulates you when she hears of your accomplishments. What about old Mrs. Jenkins who always bakes two pies or two batches of cookies ~ one for herself, and the other to be sent home to us? And then, don't forget the kind lady who lives next door. She has five children of her own, but never seems to run out of hugs and kisses for you whenever you are around. They have already shown you what being a true, Godly mother is all about. They are your mothers."
The boy sat and thought and then, suddenly, his face brightened.
"I can't be sitting around here any more, I have work to do." he exclaimed as he jumped up.
"Where are you going son?"
"I'm getting ready for Mother's Day. I know that the holiday is over, but shouldn't mother's be celebrated more than just one day a year? I'm going to honor my mothers today!"
And so he did. He used the ideas from the unit study. He made a special Mother's Day card for his Sunday School teacher. He baked some heart shaped cookies for old Mrs. Jenkins. He lovingly made a Mother's Day craft for the kind lady next door.
That evening his father helped him deliver his gifts. The boy sat with each recipient and thanked them for "adopting" him and being the mother that he didn't have. It never failed that as the boy and his father left, there were tears in the recipients eyes.
As they arrived home and the father was passing the kitchen table he noticed one more wrapped package sitting upon it.
"Son," he called, "Did we forget to deliver one."
Unbeknownst to him, the boy had silently entered the room behind him.
"No," said the boy softly as he picked up the gift, "This one is for you. You see Father, all of those dear ladies have been Godly examples of what a mother should be, but since Mother died, you have been both my mother and father. You are the one most deserving of my love on this special day."
The father carefully unwrapped the gift. Within the paper was the lapbook and the workbook pages he had completed in the past week's study on mothers. Many of the pages had asked the student to describe different aspects of their mother. For some reason those pages caught the father's eye more than the others. Suddenly he realized why. On each one of those pages his son had not written about his mother at all, but about him. As the father closed the book, he noticed that on the front was a beautifully drawn picture. It was of a rose bush.
Now it was his turn to cry while his son placed his arms around him.
That night, as the boy lay in his bed, it dawned on him that he finally knew what a mother was. And, somehow, the memories of his real mother became all the more clear to him again.
This story/review is lovingly dedicated to my mother, Dorothy Rose Tinkel ~ who left this earth on February 14, 2011 to spend eternity with her Heavenly Father and to spend Valentine's Day with my father, the love of her life for over 50 years.
And, this story/review is also lovingly dedicated to my wife, Sarah Tinkel ~ who loves rose bushes and, yes, receives one every Mother's Day. Princess, may we have over 50 years of loving memories just as my parents did.
As a member of the Download ~ N ~ Go review team, I received a free download of the Download ~ N ~ Go unit study "Mother's Day" in order to use and review on my blog.
This unit study normally sells for $7.95. Although it is written for students in grades k-4, it and all of the Download-N-Go unit studies are easily adaptable for all ages. To find out more about this unit study or any of Amanda Bennett's other unit studies please visit one of the following links below.
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