My Child and the Future
In May of 1951, Mary Catherine McDonough Rodgers, my Mother, submitted the following essay to radio station KSD in St. Louis Missouri. The contest was a city-wide competition that Mary Catherine won one month before her first son Phillip John was born. We are not sure exactly sure what Mary Catherine “won,” however, she won all our hearts forever!
Mary Catherine wishes that the words you are about to read are not just for Phillip John. These words are the hopes and vision Mary Catherine carries in her heart for you and each one of your children and hopefully and joyously for each one your treasured grandchildren.
My Child and the Future
The skeptic today offers, “Why children – what future do they have?”
By the very fact that there are children and that I am concerned about the future of my child, is assurance enough that life holds rich promise in the days ahead.
In the routine of performing the mechanics of living, feeding and clothing, growing little bodies I am apt to forget the inner child that daily matures at my side.
One day I as a parent will abruptly realize that this human being is a product of my very life. It is important that I take time out to decide just what my responsibility is to our child. With the weighty thought of this obligation comes to mind the familiar quotation: “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle…Rules the World.”
What do I sincerely want for my child?
How can I best prepare him for the business of living?
Riches, success, esteem in the world…are these goals the top priorities for my child?
Daily, wealthy men take their own lives, revered men lose favor with a fickle world and professional men abuse their highly specialized and costly education. These then are clearly not my answer. Who could dictate the future of a child?
Rather I would hope I could instill in my child concrete stepping stones or guideposts to direct him along any path of life he may choose. These would be fundamental concepts that would serve as a basis for wise decisions toward a happy and purposeful life.
The seriousness of living, the joy and inner satisfaction of accomplishment are fruits of knowledge that will give substance to his existence. I would hope to establish an atmosphere of good living in his own home as a standard of his comparison of people he will encounter throughout his life.
Essentially, I must teach him to be honest with himself and make his greatest judgment a strict accounting to himself. The mental, physical and the spiritual must be coordinated to form the complete man. In an ever changing, unstable world, these principles will remain constant.
Then when logic in a chaotic world has a hallow ring, when reason and counsel seem futile, I must teach him to pray.
How else could I encourage his reach…..to exceed his grasp?
With God’s help, I will instill in my child these intangible qualities found so necessary but often lacking in his all too human parents. These profound truths will be the unseen hand that will guide my child to his future….full….with his highest potential and promise.
Mary Catherine Rodgers – 1951
(My thanks to my brother, Mark Rodgers, for transcribing and posting Mom’s essay.)