• Jill Jarrell Newsome

Get Out Of The Road Elephant

Road trips, when I was growing up, meant everyone slept except for Dad who was driving and usually listening to a ball game on the AM radio. All of a sudden we would all wake up to Dad yelling, "get out of the road, elephant!" I guess we were all slow learners because we would jump up so fast but we were never fast enough to see the elephant. I guess Dad never thought about the fact that we would be fighting in the back seat if we were not sleeping! As a Mom, I never woke sleeping children on a trip! Dad could not stand for us to all sleep so he would ride on the bumpy edge of the lane that makes the vibrating noise to warn you that you are about to run off the road. We would all wake up scared and Dad would be grinning.


This continued as my girls grew up and even with a dear family friend, Grandora, that often traveled with Mom and Dad. As soon as Mom and Grandora went to sleep he would hit the edge of the lane and wake them up. The next time they slept he would yell, "get out of the road elephant." After a trip cross country even Grandora joined my girls and I buying elephants for Dad. Some of my favorite Christmas ornaments are elephants because I think of Dad and the many good times we had.


We are all such creatures of habit and often times these things become traditions in our families. It is part of how we grew up. Something so small as a dad yelling for an elephant to get out of the road can last 50 years! It can be handed down to generations and spread to friends. You know where I am going with this!


Deuteronomy 11: 19, "Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." The habits of our home are etched in our hearts and minds. I am so grateful for those things!


My father came from an abusive father and he was not taught how to be a godly father. I am so grateful for his mother who brought him up as a Christian. Parents have an important duty to their children. And it affects generations to come. Or the lack of this teaching can curse generations to come. My parents taught us moral and spiritual values that will go with us our whole life. Basic things like saying the blessing at mealtimes and our prayers at bed time were always a part of our life.


Dad and Mom were both spiritual leaders and mentors for me. They taught me in the everyday routine of life. They taught by their words and their lives as they raised three children. They did not just talk the talk, they walked the walk. As I got older and made some poor choices and had guilt, Dad would remind me to look at God using it to grow and learn from. We all continue to refer to Dad as the eternal optimist. He looked at those times as an opportunity to make an eternal difference for the Kingdom of God.


Do those I seek to influence see joy in my life?



My cousin, Donna, Sarah and I had to stop in the road in South Africa due to an elephant traffic jam! We just stopped and watched them cross the road! First time I was ever fast enough to see the elephant in the road! Of course I thought of Dad!


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