We became acquainted with Lamplighter Books at a recent homeschooling conference we attended. Lamplighter is a Christian publishing company whose goal is to “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord, by building Christ-like character one story at a time.” The founder, Mark Hamby, has searched out wonderful old, character driven tales that were out of print and republished them in beautiful hardbound books. They are trying to make these stories available both in print and in audio theater versions and we have been enjoying listening and reading them!
The girls and I recently finished one as our afternoon read-aloud – Little Threads by Elizabeth Prentiss. If that name rings a bell, it should! Mrs. Prentiss is also the author of the well-known Stepping Heavenward: One Woman's Journey to Godliness. This is a children’s tale which she wrote in the 1863 when she was about 45 years old and the mother of three young children. This book was written with the intent to be used as a tool for children to learn obedience and I have to say that this mama learned a few things from it as well.
The story is built around the lives of two little girls. One named Tangle Thread – a girl with an unruly and disobedient disposition, and Golden Thread – one who tried her best to be obedient and think of others over herself. Tangle Thread was the daughter of a godly woman who was well-to-do, and she caused her mother much grief with her behavior and selfishness. Golden Thread, by contrast, was the child of a very poor washer woman, and the bright spot in her day. The paths of the two girls eventually cross changes the courses of both their lives.
I loved the wonderful message within these pages. There was no tiptoeing around the message that our goal is to try to become more Christ-like in our behavior and Tangle Thread’s mother never gave up (though she did grow weary) in teaching and training her daughter:
“…she loved her child too well to do this [give up in training her because the task was hard]; and she loved God too well not to try to do the work He had given her to do in the best possible manner, leaving it to Him to make that work hard or easy as He thought best. (p.38-39).
“What to do next for her child she knew not, but God saw her grief and pain, and heard her prayers. He put new courage and patience in her heart.She said to herself: ‘I have a very hard task to perform. I must teach this child obedience, but I see that this cannot be done at once. I must go on day after day, trusting in God to lead me every step of the way. I must pray more, I must love her more, I must be more gentle and tender, but I must have her obedience.” (p.102)
While my girls enjoyed the tale about the two girls, there were definitely some encouraging (and direct!) words for me in here. Parenting is my God-given, first priority, and it’s so easy to put other things in front of that and overlook areas where I need to be staying top of my children in their character development. I spend more time being focused on doing and going and just-get-your-work-done aspects of parenting, instead of being slow and intentional and focusing on the character and habits they are developing behind it all. This book was a wonderful reminder of some of those things!
Linking up with Amy for Read-Aloud Thursday!