by Frieda Cowling
I was reared in a home where reading and thinking were encouraged. One real problem of being raised in the television generation is that it discourages both. My east Tennessee mountain background taught me to be independent, to work hard, to give my best effort, and to have the “where there is a will, there is a way” philosophy. Combine this with my parents’ faith in the Bible and living for Christ, and I consider that a priceless heritage that money cannot buy. You may be wondering what this has to do with the title of this article, but we are a part of all we have learned and experienced. As a child, my dream was to be a wife and mother — which I still believe is the highest calling for a woman. In college I majored in Early Childhood Education and Homemaking, not because I wanted to teach, but because I wanted to prepare myself to be a wife and mother.
One of the many methods the devil is using to destroy the family today is keeping us ignorant of God’s Word. If we want to be a computer programmer, we go to computer class. If we want to be a nurse, we go to nursing school, but the devil spreads the lie that all we need to be a wife and mother is a marriage license and a trip to the maternity ward.
All the years our children were preschoolers, I stayed at home with them as their teacher, and I have never regretted this. I preferred a small house, few worldly possessions, and the opportunity to teach and train my own children. With God’s help, I always tried to “make a house a home,” which has nothing to do with the size of the dwelling. I have two college degrees in homemaking, but the one class I have never taught is high school homemaking. The God Who makes no mistakes knew what I needed to be a wife and mother.
When my youngest son Keith was four, we moved to Indiana so our children could grow up at First Baptist Church under the ministry of Dr. Jack Hyles. My husband had been asked to teach at Hyles-Anderson College, but I had not. The week we moved, Dr. Evans asked me to teach homemaking classes at the college. My husband felt this was a good idea, and for many years teaching for me has been a constant joy. For the following reasons, I anticipate each day with my students.
- Teaching is God’s will for my life. If I complain about it, I am criticizing God.
- I have other authorities over me, but I work for God. He expects my best — whether I am giving a lecture, supervising a lab, or grading a test. (I grade them myself so I can see firsthand if my students are grasping what I am teaching.)
- Everything I teach I consider vitally important — a matter of life and death. If being a wife and mother is the highest calling for a woman, every class is essential.
- I try to make every class practical that will teach truth that can be applied to life. I have no desire to teach a jumble of facts that a person can memorize for a test and forget. The real test comes when class is over. In living our lives for God, truth from a class is there to help us.
- Every class I teach is important and has helped me in my Christian life. When this is true, I get excited regardless of how many times I have gone over the same material.
- God requires my best. As a child I learned three verses that taught me this principle. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24) Less than our best is sin.
- I am a perpetual student — always looking for new ideas to improve my classes. I can hardly wait to share these ideas with my classes, and it makes life exciting.
- Nothing means more to me as a teacher than meeting one of my former students and hearing her say, “Your class has helped me rear my children, decorate my house, etc.”
Teaching is more than a job to me. It is an opportunity to share truth with others that will raise their quality of life. I have no desire to retire. I hope I have the health to teach until I go to Heaven and sit at the feet of the Master Teacher forever!