I had often heard that home teachers may receive inspiration for the families to which they are assigned. But how real that blessing is became evident to me through an experience we had a few years ago.
The semester at the university had ended, and I was spending my summer hours at a part-time job painting homes. I was also teaching an evening class at the Institute of Religion. Our family had recently purchased a new car big enough to comfortably seat our family of seven—just the kind of automobile we had always wanted.
One evening as I was preparing to go to class, our two little daughters, then about three and five years old, came running into the house with white all over their arms. Not suspecting what they had been up to, I thought they had been playing with the flour. But suddenly I noticed that the white on their arms was dripping! In an instant I knew what had happened. I had left an unopened gallon of white oil-base paint out in the car—and a wide paintbrush conveniently next to it. Our little girls had pried open the can and painted the inside of the car. And they had been thorough! The ceiling, the floor, the seats. …
As I stood there looking at the horrible sight before me, one of my little daughters said with a smile on her face, “See Daddy, pretty car.” I picked up the two girls, trying with all my heart to control my emotions, carried them into the bathroom, and put them into the bathtub. I then called for my wife to come and help clean them up while I tried to take care of the car.
At that very moment our telephone rang. I picked up the phone and with some impatience said, “Hello.” A voice at the other end said, “Brother McIntosh, this is Brother Wilde, your home teacher. I was just sitting here wondering how you and your family were getting along.”
“Brother Wilde, you will not believe what our two little daughters have just done,” I moaned. “They have painted the inside of our new car—and I don’t even have an ounce of turpentine to clean it up with!”
My home teacher then gave a response which, to this day, is an inspiration to me: “Brother McIntosh, you may not believe this, but about a half an hour ago, I was walking through a department store. Something said to me, ‘Buy a gallon of turpentine.’ I bought it, not knowing why. It’s still sitting out in the car. I’ll be right over to help you clean up the mess.”
Within minutes, he arrived. About twenty minutes later, we had the entire mess in hand, and I was able to make it to my class on time.
As I walked in the door of the building, I looked up into the sky and said a short prayer: “Thank thee, Father, for a home teacher who cares, who thinks about my family, and who seeks inspiration about us.”