My father linked his discipline of me to his commitment. I can still hear him say, “My dear boy, it would be far easier for me to say ‘Yes’ to you, than to say ‘No’ but I have to give account to God for you…I have to build your life for Him!” He never wavered in the commitment to his Lord, to his boy.
Commitment must have been the reason, then, for what I experienced many mornings in the early hours, say five or five-thirty A.M. I would awaken to hear my father praying. There he knelt, before the little gas heater that was used to warm the room on wintery days. “God bless my boy today, my motherless boy,” he would plead softly, “Keep him from harm and sin. Lead him through the day. Help him to grow up to be a man of God!”
He never knew I heard him, not that I observed him through half-closed eyes as he rose from his knees and wiped the tears from his eyes, straightened his tie, picked up his lunch pail, and went out to work.
That scene, more than sixty years ago, is clearly etched in my memory. Charley Cook’s motherless boy is still grateful, and, like his father, still praying.