The Words of the Gow Family
Teaching Virtue by Example
Haven Bradford Gow
The FBI reports the number of juveniles under 18 arrested for murder skyrocketed 158.3 percent from 1985 to 1994. Eugene Bogen, federal magistrate judge, Greenville, Mississippi, says the problems of juvenile crime and delinquency emanate from broken homes and broken families. And such problems also result from the lack of character education in our families, churches, schools, social organizations and business community.
But, as Oxford University scholar Mary Warnock observes, "You cannot teach morality without being committed to morality yourself; and you cannot be committed to morality yourself without holding that some things are right and some things are wrong."
C. Brett Bode, family court judge in Pekin, Illinois, stresses the importance and necessity of teaching virtue and good character through deeds, as well as in words. Children often imitate both the bad and good behavior exhibited by adults, he notes.
Dr. G.H. Wang, president of an educational/cultural affairs foundation in Chicago, insists we best can teach young people to be virtuous by displaying in our own lives and professions such values as moral and intellectual courage and integrity. Certainly the best way to teach young people about virtue and good character is to manifest virtue and good character in our own lives. Consider:
* Freda, an employee of the Sunflower grocery store in Eudora, Arkansas, practices the Golden Rule in the way she treats customers and co-workers; she works in a dedicated and conscientious manner as a front office worker, as a cashier and also as a deli worker. She treats others in the same courteous and friendly way she would like others to treat her.
* Mr. and Mrs. Harold Hart, resident of Eudora, Arkansas, are World War II veterans and retired business people. The Harts fell in love after the war, and have been married ever since. After Mr. Hart suffered a serious, life-threatening stroke, the Harts grew closer together. Mrs. Hart says, "I take care of him and love him just as if he were my little baby."
* J.C. Serio is a prominent businessman in Eudora and a World War II veteran. Despite his heroic service during World War II, he is modest about his sacrifices; he says, "I was just one of many, many Americans who risked their lives in the war against Japan and Germany. When I entered the Navy, I thought I would never come back alive. During our many sea battles with the Japanese, I would pray to God and ask him to please end the war so we could come back to our loved ones."
* Mary Mitchell, a resident of Eudora, has for several years suffered from life-threatening cancer; instead of feeling sorry for herself, however, she says she has a positive attitude about life because of her faith in God and the love and support she has received from family and friends. Like Mrs. Mitchell, Eudora resident Patricia Drew suffers from a life-threatening ailment: multiple sclerosis. She also credits her faith in God and the love and support of family and friends for her optimistic outlook on life. Mrs. Drew and Mrs. Mitchell are so friendly that people often forget they are suffering from tragic health problems.
* A few years ago, Mrs. Leola Curt, an official of Bible Temple Church in Eudora, became so ill that her doctor thought she had cancer. Mrs. Curt humbled herself and asked family members and friends at church to pray. The next day, she went to the hospital and the doctor said she was healed.
* In Greenville, Mississippi, Jason Irwin is a 17-year-old handicapped high school student. Despite this handicap, though, Jason is a successful student in a job-training program, and in 1996 won first place prizes during the Special Olympics program held at Washington School in Greenville. Jason gives the credit to the love and encouragement he always has received from his parents, Bruce and Molly Irwin, and to his family’s faith in God.
* Mrs. Edwards, a Sunday School teacher at Second Baptist Church in Lake Village, Ark., and director of a vocational school, says, "The greatest lesson of the Bible is that God loves us so much that she sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and lead us on the right path to salvation. Also, God teaches us we all are brothers and sisters in Christ, and that when God judges us, he looks at our hearts and souls, and not the color of our skins." Mrs. Edwards practices what she preaches.
* Sam Newsom, a member of First Baptist Church of Greenville, Miss., saw a man and his handicapped sister walking along Highway 82 in Greenville during one cold winter day; he quickly stopped his car and discovered that their car had run out of gas, so he drove them to a service station to buy some gas and then drove them back to their car. Sam Newsom is like the Good Samaritan in the Bible.
* Walter Lancaster, a member of New Hope Baptist Church in Greenville, noticed that a man was having difficulty starting his car; so he stopped and provided the man with assistance. The man offered to pay him for his kindness, but Mr. Lancaster said, "You know, the best way you can repay me is by coming to my church, New Hope Baptist Church. We have some really good people who attend our church, and I know they will make you feel welcome. We’re all brothers and sisters with the same God; it doesn’t matter what color skin you have."
* When Simon Zhou arrived in Quincy, Massachusetts, 25 years ago after spending all his life in China, he could not speak a word of English. To support his wife and small son, who had accompanied him to America, Mr. Zhou got a job as a cook in a Boston-area restaurant; he worked six days a week and 12 hours each day. Before going to work in the late morning, Mr. Zhou went to English language class at a nearby school. There, he gradually learned to speak and write English. Today, Mr. Zhou has a good-paying factory job, his wife works for a bank, and his son graduated from college with honors and now is working for a prestigious corporation in the Boston area. Mr. Zhou is modest about his family’s accomplishments and gives the credit to God, religious faith, and friends and relatives who inspired him and his family to believe the American dream can become an everyday reality.
* Alvin Meyer, Jr. is a well-to-do farmer in Eudora. However, instead of being obsessed with making money and possessing material goods, Mr. Meyer has dedicated his life to serving God and others. Each year Mr. Meyer takes a group of economically and culturally disadvantaged young people on an educational/cultural tour of Washington, D.C. so they can develop a positive view of life and other human beings. Mr. Meyer also regularly visits lonely people residing in nursing homes.
* In Greenville, Jerome Sit is a prominent businessman and a member of the Chinese Christian Mission at First Baptist Church; he also is a good Christian husband, father and now grandfather. Mr. Sit and his wife have been married for 36 years, and he says the reasons for their good and enduring marriage are these: "Religious faith, unselfish love, humility and God."
* Each year during the holiday season, Grace Moses, a Sunday School teacher and resident of Eudora, provides food and gifts for handicapped children. She says she is trying to following the example of Christ, who always enjoyed being with children and teaching them about the love of God.
* The manager of Fred’s Family Store, Highway 82, Greenville, insists that a businessman can serve God and the public, too. He trains all his employees to provide customers with friendly, courteous and honest service.
* J.D. Rushing, executive director of the Hodding Carter YMCA in Greenville, says helping young people develop good character is an important part of the Christian faith and of the YMCA philosophy; he states, "We believe in teaching young people the Golden Rule, that is, ‘Do unto others what you would have them do unto you; treat others the way you want to be treated’."
* Margie Robinson, a resident of Eudora, always has a friendly smile and kind words for everyone she meets during the day; she says her religious faith and the example of her mother have inspired her to be nice to others.
* Rev. James and Mrs. Toney, residents of Eudora, have been married for over 50 years; they insist that faith in God and following the teachings of Christ provide the foundation for enduring and happy marriages. "For every human problem, including marital problems," says Rev. Toney, "we can find a solution in the Bible. The Bible is the inspired Word of God."
* A few years ago, an elderly Chinese-American lady in Eudora named Mrs. Lena Wong Yee was suffering from life-threatening health problems; so her long-time friend, Ora Mae Spiller, helped her. Ora Mae nursed Mrs. Yee back to good health by being a good friend and by cooking for and feeding her, and by seeing to it she took the right medicine.
Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents