Family Illustrations

  • dog on treadmillOne day after a nasty streak of bad weather, I asked my teenage son to take our dog for a long walk after school.

    When I came home from work, I found my son stretched out on the recliner, watching television.

    He had leash in hand while the dog trotted happily away on the treadmill.

  • police pull overTrue story:

    A man goes to a party and has too much to drink. His friends plead with him to let them take him home. He says no, he only lives a mile away. About five blocks from the party, the police pull him over for weaving and ask him to get out of the car and walk the line.

    Just as he starts, the police radio blares out a notice of a robbery taking place in a house just a block away. The police tell the party animal to stay put, they will be right back and they hop a fence and run down the street to the robbery. The guy waits and waits and finally decides to drive home.

  • Life saving beltToday's Illustration "An Honest Day's Work" was one I read on www.sermoncentral.com

    The USS Astoria (C-34) was the first U.S. cruiser to engage the Japanese during the Battle of Savo Island, a night action fought the 8th to 9th of August 1942. Although she scored two hits on the Imperial flagship Chokai, the Astoria was badly damaged and sank shortly after noon, on 9th of August.

    About 0200 hours a young Midwesterner, Signalman 3rd Class, Elgin Staples, was swept overboard by the blast when the Astoria's number one eight-inch gun turret exploded. Wounded in both legs by shrapnel and in semi-shock, he was kept afloat by a narrow life belt that he managed to activate with a simple trigger mechanism.

  • Ask Jeeves AnswersMy friend Nancy and I decided to introduce her elderly mother to the magic of the Internet. Our first move was to access the popular Ask Jeeves website, and we told her it could answer any question she had. Nancy's mother was very skeptical until Nancy said, "It's true, Mom. Think of something to ask it."

    As I sat with fingers poised over the keyboard, Nancy's mother thought a minute, then responded, "How is Aunt Helen feeling?"

  • A mom finds her boy looking at a web site with photos of Brittney SpearsSeeing my 11-year-old son perusing a website filled with photos of Britney Spears, I commented, "She certainly is pretty. Which picture do you like best?"

    "I don't know," he mumbled, embarrassed by his newfound interest in girls. "I'm just reading about her."

    I came closer and peered at the screen."Oh, really?" I said.

    "So when did you learn to read Spanish?

  • Children ShoppingMy first-grade daughter and her friend both needed new boots as winter approached. Not many days passed before her friend got in the car one morning sporting brand new boots.

    "Beth," I commented, "I see you got new boots. Where did you get them?"

    "At the store," she answered.

    "Which one?" I asked.

    She began looking at her new boots and after a pause said, "Both of them."

  • sandwichesWhen the power failed at the elementary school, the cook couldn't serve a hot meal in the cafeteria, so at the last minute she whipped up great stacks of peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.

    As one little boy filled his plate, he said, "It's about time. At last - a home-cooked meal!"

  • crayonsLittle Johnny had been bringing his drawings home from kindergarten every day since he started a month ago. Each day his mother admired the pictures and hung them on the refrigerator. One thing started bothering her. Little Johnny only used black and browns for his drawings. Fearing a problem and not wanting it to get worse, she decided to take him to a child psychologist.

  • meal familyLittle Mikey and his family were having Sunday dinner at his grandmother's house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When Little Mikey received his plate, he started eating right away.

    "Mikey! Please wait until we say our prayer," said his mother.

    "I don't need to," the boy replied.

    "Of course, you do," his mother insisted through gritted teeth. "We always say a prayer before eating at our house."

    "That's at our house," Mikey explained. "But this is Grandma's house and she knows how to cook."

  • christmas fruit cakeTHE SEASON OF FAMILY FRUITCAKES

    By Saralee Perel

    This season, certain relatives we haven't seen since last Christmas (because we kept making excuses) gather together. During festive meals, we sharply elbow loved ones sitting next to us. This is to discourage them from snapping back at innuendos that loved ones sitting further away are spewing.

    Sibling rivalry is a brief adolescent phase that ends at age 92. It stems from the fact that most kids have distinctively different ideas as to what their parents are really like. And we each know our perspective is the RIGHT one.

  • wooden crossOne Sunday a priest announced he was passing out miniature crosses made of wood.

    "Put this cross in the room where your family argues most," he advised. "When you look at it, the cross will remind you that God is watching."

    When the parishioners were leaving church, a woman walked up to the priest, shook his hand, and said, "I'll take five."

  • book ideaThe Smith's were proud of their family tradition; their ancestors had come to America on the Mayflower and also included many Senators and Wall Street wizards.

    When they decided to compile a family history as a legacy reminder for their children and grandchildren they hired a fine author. Only one problem arose and that was how to handle that great-uncle George, who was executed in the electric chair.

  • man oldA wealthy old man looked around the table at his two sons and five daughters and their spouses gathered for a family reunion.

    "Not a single grandchild," he said with a sigh.

    "Why, I'll give a million dollars to the first kid who presents me with a little one to bounce on my knee. Now, let's say grace."

    When the old man lifted his eyes again, his wife was the only other person at the table.

  • phone2After booking my 80-year-old grandmother on a flight from Florida to Nevada, I called the airline to go over her special needs. The representative listened patiently as I requested a wheelchair and an attendant for my mother because of her arthritis and impaired vision to the point of near blindness.

    My apprehension lightened a bit when the woman assured me that everything would be taken care of. I thanked her profusely.

    "Oh, you're welcome," she replied.

    I was about to hang up when she cheerfully asked,... "And will your grandmother need a rental car?"

  • Helping FamilyMy husband Ronnie volunteered to strip the bricks from the exterior of my parents’ house. One morning he was out front chipping away when a man came by looking for my father.

    "He's not here," Ronnie said.

    The man thanked him, watched him remove a few more bricks, and said, "I'll bet next time they'll leave the key for you."

  • child happyWith her brown eyes and curly hair, our youngest daughter takes after my husband. At three, she was a lively, mischievous girl, and people often remarked on how cute she was. One day I was standing with her in the supermarket when a woman commented on how cute she was.

    My smile disappeared when she asked, "Is she really yours?"

  • phone handheld 2A woman was at home with her children when the telephone rang.

    In going to answer it, she tripped on a rug, grabbed for something to hold on to and seized the telephone table. It fell over with a crash, jarring the receiver off the hook.

    As it fell, it hit the family dog, which leaped up, howling and barking. The woman's three-year-old son, startled by this noise, broke into loud screams.

  • child and boys clubI was taking my six-year-old son to sign him up at the Chicago Boys Club, an event he had been long waiting for.

    As I parked in front of the building he stated; "This isn’t the boys club."

    I looked through the windshield and looked at the Boys Club sign. I asked him, "If this isn’t the boys club, then where is it?"

  • dry cleanersOne day, at the dry-cleaning shop of a local air force base, I overheard a young airman describe in great detail how he wanted his uniform cleaned and pressed.

    When he finished, the counter clerk asked, "Are you getting an award, or do you have an important military function to attend?"

    "Nothing like that," the airman said. "I'm going home on leave, and my little brother is taking me to his second-grade class for show-and-tell."

  • Children's thoughts on the BibleThe statements below are said to have been written by actual students, that they are genuine and NOT retouched or corrected:

    - Noah's wife was called Joan of Ark.

    - The Egyptians were all drowned in the dessert. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount cyanide to get the ten amendments.

    - The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple.

    - The fifth commandment is to humor thy father and mother.

  • roadOne of the funniest memories I have of the trials and tribulations of making the journey from childhood to adulthood was our annual summer vacation trek from Chicago to a cabin usually someplace on a lake in Wisconsin or Michigan.

    Every year, it seems, we would get on a highway a few miles out of the city, and mom would wail, "Oh my goodness! I think left the iron on." And almost every year we would turn around and go back. But as I recall, not once was it was ever plugged in. She often had the same fear that all our earthly possessions would disappear in a fire caused by her forgetfulness.

    When I was about 14 years old, we were headed out of Chicago for Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and, sure enough, Mom gasped, "I just know I left the iron on."

    My father didn't say a word, just pulled over onto the shoulder of the road, got out, opened the trunk and handed her the iron.

  • childThe child comes home from his first day at school.

    His Mother asks, "Well, what did you learn today?"

    The boy replies, "Not enough. They want me to come back tomorrow."

  • old manWhen my son was around 4 years old, we went to the local drug store one afternoon. While in the check out he noticed a bald-headed man behind us in line. I had, as good moms do, been teaching him manners, especially how important they are when in public. I noticed the man the same time my son did and just prayed that he would remember what I had taught him.

    Within seconds, at an unusually quiet moment in the store, my son proclaimed, "Look mama, that man ain't got no hair!" The man was understanding, and even smiled at my son.

    Next, without warning, my son shouted, "And look, he ain't got no teeth either!!"

  • old ladyMy friend Ida was slowly recovering from a heart attack. "Doctor," she pleaded with her cardiologist, "you must keep me alive for the next two years. I want to attend my first grandchild's Bar Mitzvah."

    "We'll try," he replied compassionately.

    In due course Ida gratefully attended the festive rite of passage.

    Some time later she again spoke to her doctor. "My granddaughter is to be married in 18 months. Please help me to be able to attend her wedding."

  • family 1950sA few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Ohio town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

    As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger...he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries, and comedies.

  • baby 6moWhen my wife quit work to take care of our new baby daughter, countless hours of peekaboo and other games slowly took their toll. One evening she smacked her bare toes on the corner of a dresser and, grabbing her foot, sank to the floor.

    I rushed to her side and asked where it hurt.

    She looked at me through tear-filled eyes and managed to moan,

    "It's the piggy that ate roast beef."

  • watergunsWhen my three-year-old son opened the birthday gift from his grandmother, he discovered a water pistol. He squealed with delight and headed for the nearest sink. I was not so pleased.

    I turned to Mom and said, "I'm surprised at you. Don't you remember how we used to drive you crazy with water guns?"

    Mom smiled and then replied....."I remember."

  • children4I was leaving for a two-day conference, and my seven-year-old daughter, Katherine, was becoming overly clinging and teary.

    I was mystified at her emotional reaction until I heard her say to my husband,

    "Daddy, I have a loose tooth. If it falls out while Mommy is gone, do you know how to handle this tooth fairy thing?"

  • child toddlerOur three year-old granddaughter, Audrey, had just been through an episode of potty training by her Mom, who expressed concerns about her slow progress.

    Audrey, somewhat tired of the process, turned to her Mother and asked:

    "Can't we forget the potty training and just be friends?"

  • class1A little boy was caught swearing by his teacher.

    "Jeffrey," she said, "you shouldn't use that kind of language. Where did you hear that?"

    "My daddy said it," he responded.

    "Well, it doesn't matter," explained the teacher. "You don't even know what it means."

    "I do so!" Jeffrey corrected. "It means the car won't start."

  • flower bunchA stuffy old dowager was explaining to the Jewish florist how she wanted the flowers arranged at the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) meeting to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

    "Actually," she said, "one of my ancestors was present at the presentation of the document to the Congress."

    "How very nice." replied Morris the florist.

    "One of my mine was present at the presentation of the Ten Commandments to the world."

  • glass waterA friend of mine was a philosophy major during his first semester in college. One day in class, they spent a great deal of time debating whether the glass was half full or half empty.

    After the class, my friend was feeling pretty good about himself and what he was learning at university, so when he went home, he tried to continue the discussion with his family.

    With maximum drama, he took a 12-ounce glass from the cupboard and poured in 6 ounces of water. Then took it into the dining room and placed it in the middle of the table.

    He proudly asked his family, "Can anyone tell me whether this glass is half full or half empty?"

    Without missing a beat, his grandmother replied, "Depends if you're drinking or pouring."

  • baby2Brian and Cathleen took their newborn, Emily, to meet her cousins, Erin and Savannah, in Oklahoma. The cousins were delighted with her and watched everything the adults did with Emily including changing her diapers. The girls were sitting right beside Brian the first time he changed one of Emily's messy diapers.

    When he opened her diaper he said, "Ew! She pooped!"

    Erin looked at him and asked, "Didn't they tell you she would do that?"

  • bambooDid you know that there is a certain type of bamboo in Japan that only flowers once every 120 years?

    It's certainly puzzling how this plant can keep track of time, but everything 119 years before it germinates will determine how much the bamboo will bloom. And that's a long time to wait to see the results.

    In the same way, children don't always blossom on your timetable. The love, discipline and instruction you pour into their lives cannot be immediately seen. Your job as a parent is to prune and nourish your children in anticipation of their blooming. And once they do, you'll see them grow rapidly into patient, loving and consistent people.

    The latest bloomers often have the most striking and beautiful flowers.

  • boy soccerballThanks to List member Dannette from Ohio for this true story about her son.

    When my son was 4, I was in a Women's Bible Study group. They had classes for children as well, while we studied in our groups. One day, as my son and I were walking to our car, he said to me, "Mom, I'm not going to sin anymore."

    You can imagine my pride at hearing this. Then I got to wondering why he said this, so I asked him.

    His answer was quick: "Jesus said if you don't sin, you can throw the first stone, and I want to throw the first stone."

    - Dannette from Ohio

  • daughter waitressWe were standing in line outside a busy restaurant. The harried hostess was checking to find out how many people were in each group. "Party of two," the woman behind us said to her, "and could we please have Michelle?"

    Annoyed looks turned to knowing smiles when she added,

    "Michelle is my daughter, and just once in my life I want her to wait on me!"

  • "Simple Prayer"

    pray boyMy son Gilbert was eight years old and had been in Cub Scouts only a short time.  During one of his meetings he was handed a sheet of paper, a block of wood and four tires and told to return home and give all to "dad".

    That was not an easy task for Gilbert to do.  Dad was not receptive to doing things with his son.  But Gilbert tried.  Dad read the paper and scoffed at the idea of making a pine wood derby car with his young, eager son.  The block of wood remained untouched as the weeks passed.

  • table setOne summer evening, a thirteen-year-old came in while his parents were setting the table for supper. Quite surprisingly, he asked if he could help.

    His mother said, "No, but I appreciate your asking."

    The child responded, "Well, I appreciate your saying 'no'."

  • women2Congratulating a friend after her son and daughter got married within a month of each other, a woman asked, "What kind of boy did your daughter marry?"

    "Oh, he's wonderful," gushed the mother. "He lets her sleep late, wants her to go to the beauty parlour regularly, and insists on taking her out to dinner every night."

    "That's sounds lovely," said the woman. "What about your son?"

    "I'm not so happy about that," the mother sighed. "His wife sleeps late, spends all her time in the beauty parlour, and makes them eat take-out meals!"

  • old coupleA couple had been married for 45 years and had raised a brood of 11 children and were blessed with 22 grandchildren.

    When asked the secret for staying together all that time, the wife replied, "Many years ago we made a promise to each other: the first one to pack up and leave has to take all the kids."

  • A teenager is someone who...A Teenager is . . .

    -A person who can't remember to walk the dog but never forgets a phone number.

    -A weight watcher who goes on a diet by giving up candy bars before breakfast.

    -A youngster who receives her allowance on Monday, spends it on Tuesday, and borrows it from her best friend on Wednesday.

  • heather and christineI heard Marianne call from the bedroom, “Harold, come here. I can’t find my jewellery box!” We had just returned from a brief visit away from home, following our move half way across the country.

    Our family moved to Port Alberni, Vancouver Island the summer of 1980, where I had accepted the call to be a pastor in the community. We put our home in Manitoba up for sale, and moved into the church manse next door to the church on a large, steep and wooded lot overlooking the harbour and pulp and paper mill. The highway in and out of town turned into a main street at the bottom of the church property. 

    By late summer we had settled into the house that was to be our home for several years, and the family next door had two girls about the same age which helped greatly in easing some of the loss they felt.

    Marianne and I had close friends who lived two hours drive away near the community of Mill Bay. Their proximity was as welcome to us as Carolyn and Kathy were to Christine and Heather—friendly faces in a place far from what used to be home. One sunny week end we decided to visit our friends. We had acquired a box of pears from the trees of a generous donor and would finish the canning process upon our return. The house was locked and we set out for a brief day and a half away from home.

  • dog2An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard. I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of. He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head. Then he followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep.

    An hour later he went to the door and I let him out.

    The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour. This continued off and on for several weeks.

  • father and son2"Walk a little plainer daddy," said a little boy so frail,

    "I'm following your footsteps and I don't want to fail.

    Sometimes your steps are plain, sometimes they are hard to see;

    So walk a little plainer Daddy, for you are leading me.

    I know that once you walked this way many years ago;

  • mother and daughter2Mrs. Frobisher and her little daughter Patty were outside the church watching all the comings and goings of a wedding. After the photographs had been taken, and everyone had driven off to the reception, and all the excitement was over, Patty asked her mother,

    "Why did the bride change her mind, Mommy?"

    "How do you mean, 'change her mind'?" asked Mrs. Frobisher.

    "Well," said the child, "she went into the church with one man and came out with another!"

  • Children explain what love means.A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8-year-olds: "What does love mean?" The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

    "When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
    Rebecca - age 8

    "When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."
    Billy - age 4

  • It's not easy caring for elderly parents and relatives, and if you are doing so this may not be the easiest video to watch. But, it is a great reminder that like little children, we only have our elderly parents for a short while and that during that time we can imitate the sacrifice they made for us - or even make the sacrifice we wish they had.

  • Children are always watching the adults around them.A message every adult should read, because children are watching you and doing as you do, not as you say.

    When you thought I wasn't looking,
    I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
    and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

    When you thought I wasn't looking,
    I saw you feed a stray cat,
    and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.