Monday, October 12, 2015


John was a neighbor's boy--sixteen, clean-minded, obedient, capable, industrious. He had a good home and he loved it, and he loved his mother and father.
But John used to say, "If only they wouldn't treat me as though I was still a little kid!"

In his sixteenth summer he "worked out" for ten weeks for an uncle down the road a mile. The money he earned was to be his own to buy himself some new clothes for high school. Through the summer, some argument arose as to whether John should do his own buying, or let Mother do it for him as she had always done.

Then came a day when Mother said, "Tomorrow we'll go into town and buy John his new suit and shirts and ties."

Imagine the family's astonishment when John said, "No use, they're bought."

Sure enough, they had been bought, and not a bad choice as John saw it. However, the edict was that John must take them back to the store.

But he never did. He left home that night. It was six months before they heard from him--a post card saying that he had been working on a California ranch and was just about to sail with a merchant ship for foreign ports. "All's well. I miss you and the farm. Best love."

Why do we tell this little true story?

Because we get a good many letters from young folks who protest that parents--mothers particularly--insist on managing them after they think that they are old enough to do a good deal of managing for themselves. Here is one of such letters:

Dear Editor: I wish you would print something that would help mothers to realize that when children are grown up they ought to be allowed to work out their own ideas. I've got a much-beloved mother, but she is so devoted to her grown children that I wish some one would tell her she ought to let her reasonably intelligent sons and daughters do their own originating. There isn't anything she wouldn't do for her beloved children, and the poor little adult urchins would rather do some of the doing without her managing and hindering. We want to work out our own salvation.

Most mothers, fortunately, do not need the preachment that lies between the lines of story and letter, and to those who do, we'll leave the task of finding it for themselves.

P.S. What ever became of John? Oh, he came home again after a year, still a good boy, and both he and his family were better off for the experience.


matty said...

Very sweet story! And still true today!

Laurie Aaron Hird said...

What surprised me the most about this story is the fact that a 16 year old disappeared for 6 months! I hope he wrote a note to his parents when he left. Poor Mom and Dad must have been so worried.