Tag Archives: discipline

A Grandfather’s Voice Points to Many Fathers


George B Shelburne-01

It’s been an interesting Monday morning.

The dog and I were sitting in the recliner. My laptop computer was living up to its name. My column/blog deadline was looming. Waiting for words to start showing up on the blank computer screen, I was really waiting for the adrenaline rush that my sadly undisciplined brain seems to require. Coffee is an aid, but no sure cure. The deadline usually does it.

In the meantime, as I found myself piddling around, procrastinating, perusing some files on the computer, I somehow wandered into the “Family Audio” section and clicked on an old file labeled, “Big George 1972.”

And that’s when I heard the voice of my paternal grandfather, G. B. Shelburne—we called him “Big George”—who died in 1975, recorded by my oldest brother in 1972 at the old house in Stanton, Texas.

In the fourteen-minute recording, Big George, a longtime lay preacher and church elder who over the course of 40 years held pretty much every non-elected position available in the City of Stanton, Texas—city secretary, water commissioner, city judge, etc.—shared a little family history.

He partially solved the family “mystery” of “G. B.” as he said that “George” was the name of his mother’s oldest brother and that “Beatty” (spelling?) was the name of the doctor who “presided” (his word) at his birth.

Oddly enough, what I found most interesting was the story he told of a spanking administered to my great-grandfather by my great-great-grandfather sometime in 1870.

Great-great-grandfather Shelburne had come home to Alabama in 1865 after his service in the Civil War. His son, Tom, my great-grandfather, was born that same year. Tom’s father died when the boy was only five years old. That would be 1870. The incident Big George told about, that his father Tom had told him about, took place that same year and was one of the only memories Tom Shelburne had of his father.

As the story goes, my great-great-grandfather had just finished filing a hand saw in the blacksmith shop he had on his Alabama farm. Five-year-old Great-grandfather Tom had been playing in the shop. His dad laid the saw up on top of his workbench and said, “Now, Tom, don’t you bother that saw. I’m goin’ out.” Tom told his son, my grandfather, later, “I had such a curiosity to try that saw that when Father came back in, I was tryin’ it over a plow beam, and he give me a paddlin’ fur it.”

Funny. That old story of my great-great-grandfather’s warming Tom’s tail section actually seemed to warm my great-grandfather Tom’s heart, too. He lost his father way too early, but he never lost the sure knowledge that he was loved by him.

It’s a great blessing to me to hear my grandfather remind me that I stand in a long line of fathers who dearly loved their sons (and daughters). The best blessing of all is to know that all of God’s children are loved by the best Father of all.

Yes, and the Bible reminds us (Hebrews 12:6, etc.) that some discipline is involved in love!



      You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!



Copyright 2016 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


“The Older I Get, the Wiser My Father Becomes”

Shelburne Portrait-small

I’ve long ago discovered the truth of the old adage: The older I get, the wiser my father becomes.

January 15, 2015 would have been my father’s 102nd birthday. January 9 was the fifteenth anniversary of his death.

I’m immensely blessed to be able to say I have few, if any, regrets about what was said or left unsaid between us. Dad well knew how much I loved and respected him.

But there are a few things I’d really like to tell him again. Once again, I’d like to say, thank you, Dad, for always giving exactly the wisdom and the love that I needed even when I was too young, inexperienced, and immature to know how very young, inexperienced, and immature I really was. If I could, I’d say once again . . .

Thank you, Dad, for all the precious gifts you’ve given.

Thank you for faithfully loving my mother.

Thank you for faithfully loving God’s people, Christ’s church.

Thank you for loving God himself with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind.

Thank you for the fact that your love of the Father colored beautifully every other love of your life.

Thank you, my earthly father, for your love which made it so easy to believe in the love of the Heavenly Father.

Yes, and I’m seeing, oh, so clearly, Dad, how that heavenly love means fulfilling very practical earthly obligations and duties.

I learned long ago whose name goes on that blank on so many medical and college and loan forms where it says simply, “Responsible Party.” Being “responsible” is not easy, which largely explains why so many fathers today fail to be. You shouldered the load. Thank you.

You knew what it’s like to be the one charged with picking up the pieces when the car breaks, the dog bites, the bill’s due, or the wheels come off in so many ways.

You knew all about paying to fix crooked teeth, saying a few words over the grave of a family pet, loving all your children but giving extra love at a particular moment to the child who particularly needs it most.

You knew when loving well meant “picking up the pieces” and when loving wisely meant expecting me to learn to clean up my own mess.

You were the strongest man I have ever known in all the ways that count, strong enough to be truly gentle.

You were the kindest man I have ever known, merciful even when those around you were being unfair and unmerciful.

You were big enough, wise enough, Christ-like enough to know when to laugh and when to cry (unashamed of laughter or of tears), when to direct and when to discipline, when to speak and when to listen, when to wait and see, and when to wrap up a child in a father’s embrace.

I’d give a lot for your embrace right now, Dad. Just a hug from the man whose gracious life and whose unfailing love has given life to me, and to mine, and opened my heart to love.

So, Dad, I just wanted to say once more, thank you. And may the Father of us all give wings to this “thank you” and whisper in your ear once more my thanks for the gifts and the love you have given me, your son.


       You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!


Copyright 2015 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

Taking Time to Rest Is a Genuine Act of Faith



Oh, for years most of us have heard amateur theologians and Bible “pseudo-scholars” asserting with the kind of loud confidence always reserved for the most seriously mistaken, that, of the Ten Big Commandments, we could certainly forget about #4. After all, the “old Law” that used to so tie people up in knots has been done away with, and now we’re under a new law, by which they generally mean the New Testament, which they contort into an upgraded system of law to use to continue to tie people up in pretty much the same old knots.

Well, what Jesus has done on the cross has indeed released us from slavery to a written code and established a completely new covenant based on the Spirit and not the law. But it has most certainly not altered God’s character as revealed in those Ten Commandments. Up might as well become down. Lies and murder might as easily become as godlike as truth and love. Don’t look for the truth of those commandments—God’s very nature—to change.

And that Sabbath commandment? Well, there’s mystery here we’ll never fully understand, but I think we can be sure of these things:

*God gave us this “Sabbath” commandment, this principle of rest, to bless us, not to tie us up with a picky law and tempt us to become piety police. I’d not at all bind rules about particular days and what constitutes “work” on anyone, but . . .

*If even God needed to rest after the work of creation, isn’t it incredibly arrogant for me to act as if I never do?

*Regularly taking time for rest is an act of faith proving that I trust God to be true to his word to care for me and keep the world spinning even when I try to stop my own spinning for a few moments.

*Taking time to truly rest (and being wary of making even my rest a kind of work) is an act of creaturely humility, a dose of the Creator’s antivenom for my poisonous pride.

*A time of rest recalibrates my perspective and helps me better learn to separate what is truly important from what is only “urgent.”

*Taking time to rest is an act of discipline. You may know some lazy people in danger of starvation or poverty, but I’ll wager you know hundreds more who along with their stressed out families live near the brink of exhaustion, depression, anxiety, and a multitude of relational dysfunctions—largely because they don’t have the discipline ever to stop and be still.

Most families, by the way, have a “barometer,” a person who most quickly registers pain or discomfort when the family is under too much pressure. Even if I have a need to think that following God’s commandment to rest is only for those who are weak (It most certainly is not!), I need to ask God to help me love the “weak” people around me enough to obey him in faith, give them and myself a break, and soak up a little “Sabbath,” a little rest.

God wants that for us. And in a thousand more ways than I can list here, he’ll use that intentional rest, that move toward balance, that simple act of faith, to bless us and those around us as we obey our Father. He knows best.




 You’re invited to take a restful visit to my website! http://www.Curtis Shelburne.com  


Copyright 2013 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

%d bloggers like this: