Remembering Father's Day

by Hayley York Teague
Driving to work this week I was listening to K-Love’s talk radio. The chipper voices of the early morning talk show hosts usually make me even more irritable. However, this time something was said that actually caught my attention. The point was made that in our lives and even in the media it is apparent that compared to Mother’s day, Father’s day is often overlooked and even forgotten. We live in a time when many fathers are not dependent leaders and many are not there for their children at all. The father is the head of the household, the main decision maker, and the leader, so imagine the impact a father has on his family. Fortunately, there are enough wonderful fathers who make up for the ones who lack. This is what makes Father’s day so important. Honoring the fathers who have had a crucial part in raising us and influencing us is something should not be overlooked. This Father’s Day, I had the privilege of interviewing my grandfather, Franklin Teague. He is the head of my dad’s side of the family and has had the crucial job of raising all of his children as well as carrying the tradition of managing the infamous, Reedy Fork Farm. So how did he do it? I wanted an inside scoop on his father and his experience of being a father. I went in knowing that he was a positive influence, who had raised a successful family but I was unaware of the genuine insight and wisdom his answers would bring, shining a light on what has held our farm and our family together for many years, but more importantly what it truly means to be a father. “Ok, Pop Pop (the name that is most familiar to all of his grandchildren), my first question that I have for you is, What is your favorite memory of your father?” He sat and thought for a few minutes and he answered simply, how genuinely kind and good-hearted he was. His father was Marion York Teague, but everyone called him York. My middle name comes from him and that was one of the few things that I had known about my great grandfather prior to this interview. Though I always loved my middle name, it became even more dear to me after hearing his story. [caption id=""attachment_1394"" align=""alignright"" width=""206""] Marion York Teague[/caption]My grandfather’s eyes began light up with the sweet memories as he told me that his father had the most tremendous faith of anyone he had ever known. Then he proceeded to tell me about the tremendous life that his father had lead. He was married at nineteen and said that he wanted to have kids young so that he could grow up with them. And that is exactly what he did. He had nine children who he would do absolutely anything for and they adored him for it. In the era of the Great Depression, where jobs were sparse, he quit a stable job to become a minister, because he felt a strong call from God. He went back to high school to get his diploma during the time when three of his children were also attending. My first thought when hearing this was how horribly embarrassing it would be to have to attend high school with a parent! However, all of the kids loved him and he even played baseball on the team, alongside all of the teenagers. After high school he completed his degree at Guilford College and became a traveling Quaker minister. With ministers during this time not getting a salary at all, he relied on God to provide for him and his family through donations from the churches and his hard work on the farm. To my amazement, there is even a book written in dedication to Quaker ministers in North Carolina at the time, in which there is a whole chapter written about him. My grandfather gave me this book to read. This book is called “Self-Supporting Ministers: Lest We Forget” and Marion York Teague’s chapter in the book is called ""Take Time to be Kind"". It seems as though he carried this out well. Along with my grandfather, many people in this book account for the way he loved people extraordinarily. He especially loved young people and this was shown through the way he raised his children and reached out to other young people in the communities. In the book it states a beautiful quote that sums up his character and the legacy that he lived. “It is too late to be an adder; the time is now to be a multiplier. Lord, lay some soul upon my heart and love that soul through me.” My grandfather proceeded to tell me about his father even entertaining youth during the Great Depression regularly through music and having candy pulls on the farm. (For all of you city folk, a candy pull is when you make molasses and use it to make candy. Then, you butter up your hands and pull the sticky liquid into taffy-like candy with a partner) He traveled around preaching the love of Christ, while still supporting and loving his family. After I learned about the tremendous life of York Teague, my grandfather finally pinpointed that his most cherished memory of his father was when his whole family would gather around the piano as they would sing together. “I can’t even begin to say enough about how well I was raised. My father gave us everything in a time when there was nothing to give and you don’t realize until later on, how much the little things mean to you.” Afterwards he apologized to me for not just answering the question but I felt as though I had just learned one of life’s greatest lessons. My grandfather had always been such a modest, hardworking man and I knew that this is where my own father had learned his ways. This made me eager to ask him the next question. “What is your favorite memory of being a father?” Pop Pop began to search his mind again and his answer was much more straightforward this time, as if he held it close in his memory to be easily recalled. His favorite memory with his children was walking around the farm. It was something that had to be done, but he used it as an opportunity to take a few of the kids and spend time with them. He would hold their hands and guide them. “Farm life is different for a family,” he told me as if I was not completely aware of that fact. It is hard work to live on a farm but it also gives the special opportunity to work together, milk cows, feed calves, and grow closer to each other. It was very special to him to know that his children still remember this today. Even I cherish the memory that my father carried down and continued to do with me and my brother. They held our hand on these walks, in our faith, and in life. “It is the little things you don’t think mean a lot, but they make all the difference.” After this quotable sentence I didn’t think I could gain anymore pride for how experienced and wise my grandfather was. However, there was still one more question that I had to ask. “What advice would you give to fathers?” He immediately told me that the most important thing for a father to do is to let their children know that you are there for them and that you would do anything to make life pleasant for them. If you don’t have much, you still give them all that you have. In the beginning, it seems like the struggles will be too much but it gets easier when you work together. You realize the influence that your own father had and that will help you. You set an example for your kids that they will carry on. You will learn from them as they learn from you and as you do things for them, they will want to do things for you. The influence goes both ways and it will continue on. Then at some point you have to let them go and trust that you were the best example that you could be. My grandfather sat back and expressed to me his hopes that he carried even a fraction of the example his own father set. I reassured him that he must have done a great job to have been the one who taught the amazing father that raised me. I am more than blessed to have a heritage of amazing fathers that raised me and I walked away from this interview with a new appreciation and love for my family and its history. “If you ever have any more questions, don’t hesitate to come back and ask them. We love you!” It was in that moment that I realized, it shouldn’t have taken an interview to make me visit and appreciate my lovely grandparents and their memories and life lessons. This Father’s Day let’s all reassure our father’s in their positive influences in our lives. Let’s not wait until we get another day older to realize the impact that they have. Learn from their successes and failures that have brought them knowledge in life and let’s let the wonderful Fathers of our world lead and outshine the negativity.
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