His mother said nothing. Next morning when Willie turned up his plate at breakfast, he found the following statement:
Willie to Mother:Debtor:--
Preparing three meals yesterday....Nothing
Washing and ironing his clothes....Nothing
Washing his neck and ears twice....Nothing
Items too small to be included........Nothing
It is needless to say that Willie had a great deal to think about during that day. Late in the afternoon he came in and said, “Mother, I don't want any pay for my work. I was just in fun.”
When you and I pass out of this world there will be one debt which we have never quite settled. That is the obligations we owe to our mothers.
February is the month when we think of the illustrious sons of Mary Washington and Nancy Hanks Lincoln.
Mary Washington was left a widow when George was eleven years old. There were four other children. Did this heroine sit down and give up? No. She provided the food for her children, and became their teacher in religion and morals. She kept a little book into which she copied the maxims of conduct and her observations on life.
This little book became the possession of George Washington. He said, “It was consulted by me many times in life.”
When LaFayette returned to visit America, he went to pay a call on Mary Washington. They sat out in the garden and she treated him to some fine gingerbread, and gave him the recipe to take back to France.
After another France general had been in her presence he said, “It is not surprising that America should produce great men since she can boast of such Mothers.”
Down in Lincoln City, Indiana, there is a shrine that humbles the heart of every traveler who goes there. It is the sacred grave of Nancy Hanks Lincoln.
She was companion of poverty and hardship. Drudgery in the forest wilderness was her daily duty. Possessed of a little knowledge of books, she taught her children and her neighbors to read.
Broken by sickness, long before her time, she called her family about her bed. She committed their souls to God, prayed for them one by one, exacted a pledge from a tall boy who was kneeling at the bedside, that “he would always be a good boy,” and then closed her tired eyes forever.
Several months later this tall son secured a clergyman to utter above her grave some words of Christian comfort, and offer a prayer. When it was over Lincoln said, “Now I have but one purpose in life: to live as she would have me.”
There are some great leaders of America who are just now little boys. Some of them are in farm homes, going upstairs to bed with a kerosene lamp. If history is to repeat itself, doubtless the greatest leaders of the next generation are living on farms. It is possible that the little question-asking chap in your home will receive a Destiny Call. He will need all the patience and care that can be given him, if he has some great work to do. If that care is bestowed upon him, it will be the work of some mother principally.
It is well to remind ourselves often that the face above the cradle holds the sunshine of the world.