The Making of a Man
Part 2

Do you feel like Cinderella’s stepmother, giving the white glove inspection on cleanliness?
Are you trying to tame uncontrolled natives?
Are you the witch, always riding your broom of correction?
Do you feel defeated preparing your child for the world?
Consider this woman.
One man proposed to her. She declined.
The man she choose became a jailer, dragging her to live in the jailhouse, cleaning and cooking for the inmates.
When cholera killed her husband, she moved her three children to a cabin.
Three years later, the man who proposed to her thirteen years prior returned and asked, “I have no wife and you no husband. I came a-purpose to marry you. I knowed you from a gal and you knowed me from a boy. I’ve no time to lose and if you’re willin’, let it be done straight off.”
She accepted providing her former husband’s outstanding debts were paid.
Her three children, ranging from 8-13 years, were added to his two and one of his relations.
His daughter was 12; his son ten.
Arriving at the dark, filthy cabin, which hadn’t seen a woman’s touch in over thirteen months, she demanded a wooden floor, a loft for the boys, greased paper windows, and the roof finished so snow wouldn’t fall on them as they slept.
Her furniture and furnishings brought luxury to the motherless children she came to care for.
She applied her cleanliness to his children, dressing them up to “look more human.”
She filled the void in his son’s life from the mother's loss.
Her love, kindness and encouragement shaped his life through the friendship wrought.
Immediately christened, “Mama,” he sometimes called her “angel Mother.”
She brought her books: the Bible, Aesop’s Fables, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Robinson Crusoe, Sinbad the Sailor and Lessons in Elocution.
This stepmother, though illiterate herself, could see in her boy a love of knowledge and a thirst for learning which she encouraged. “He cared little for clothes or food, but a great deal about ideas.”
After hearing sermons, she watched him gather children and “repeat (the sermon) word for word.”
By fifteen, he knew his alphabet, could read with great difficulty, but couldn’t write at all.
This stepmom, ignoring the custom where sons at this age worked their farms full time and forgot about school, she defended his right to pursue learning.
When a traveling teacher started a school, he and his sister walked four miles, one way, to a blab school, where every child studied out loud, simultaneously.
Her son’s reading lessons came from the Bible, his penmanship from Washington and Jefferson. After practicing, it resembled their clear, distinct style.
In spite of her need for cleanliness and order, when her son ran out of paper, she allowed him to write on the flat sides of the cabin log walls.
When all his formal educational attempts were combined, he had no more than twelve months of schooling.
A mother worries, “How could that prepare him for the world he must face?”
When completing a biographical blank, he answered, “What has been your education?” with one word, “Defective.”
Her ability to laugh influenced her son’s humor. At eighteen and 6’4”, his head almost touched the kitchen’s ceiling. She told him he must keep his hair washed or he’d leave prints on her ceiling.
One day, when she wasn’t home, he “walked” some younger boys upside-down on her ceiling, leaving muddy footprints.
When she saw them, she laughed, threatening to spank him.
When he left home, he returned once a year for a visit.
As her son prepared for his inauguration, he received a letter from a kinsman relating his mother was “uneasy about you, fearing some of your political opponents will kill you. She is very anxious to see you once more.”
He made his way 120 miles back home.
Missing his connections on the passenger train, he rode part of the remaining miles on a freight train. When the train didn’t make it to the station, he trudged through slush and ice to the depot, finishing his journey to the secluded farmhouse on foot where he hugged his 72-year-old angel mother.
The town came to hear this son honor his mother. This rare speech of his past was not recorded but one resident recalled, “she had been his best friend in this world and that no son could love a mother more than he loved her.”
Could a mother want any more?
She died, buried in the black dress her son had given.
She lay in an unmarked grave until 1924 when a local Lions Club added a stone marker.
Measured by society’s standard of success and wealth, her life didn’t make a dent.
What did she do, but offer a motherless boy the love and encouragement that would shape him to become a man.
That man was Abraham Lincoln.
That angel mom was Sarah Bush Lincoln.

Carnegie, Dale. 1932, 1959. Lincoln the Unknown. Garden City, NY: Dale Carnegie and Associates, Inc.

Klein, Christopher. 2014. "The Two Mothers Who Molded Lincoln." May 9. Accessed April 24, 2018. The Two Mothers Who Molded Lincoln.

Widmer, Ted. 2011. "Lincoln's Other Mother." January 29. Accessed April 24, 2018.

Wikipedia. n.d. "Sarah Bush Lincoln." Wikipedia. Accessed April 29, 2018. Bush Lincoln.

What keeps you from training your child in their talents?

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras