The Well Magazine Fall/Winter 2013 - Page 17

For 25 years she taught families. She taught ways to create and maintain a home environment conducive for healthy, safe interactions and growth for all family members. Most her work was with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), but she was also an advocate for services for families who “fell through the cracks.” These families’ problems weren’t severe enough to need DCFS intervention, but at the same time, they could not afford family counseling. She had a heart for grandparents who needed support to cope with the unexpected responsibility of raising grandchildren because a parent was missing in action because of drugs, jail or abandonment. Mom definitely had a zeal for family connectedness. To her, the words were synonymous. As a matter-of-fact, the words family, love, and connectedness were interchangeable. She believed families were meant to be together. She coordinated family “round-ups”, family praise and worship events, and would honor a family-of-the-month at our church. My father shared her zeal and together they spread a family message to family, friends, and the church communities across the country and abroad. I can remember a parent from one of her parenting classes challenging her beliefs about family. The parent told her that family wasn’t all she was making it out to be. The parent spewed, “Everybody didn’t grow up in a magical family like you. What do you know about family hard times?” Without batting an eye, she told him what she knew about family hard times. When she was done, he realized he’d had it better growing up than she did. Many people didn’t realize that her passion for family was forged through the adversities of her childhood. She was the youngest of seven children born to Emma Lou Stowe Chatman Jones. Grandma’s maiden name was Stowe and she had two children by her first husband. She had five children by her second husband, Thomas J. Jones, and my mother was the youngest. Her parents divorced when she was a Fall/Winter 2013 The Well Magazine 17