Mentoring from a Father.

Henry Allen Tupper was Corresponding Secretary of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1871 to 1893. In the seminal biography of his life and contribution, Al James (my PhD mentor) includes this little tidbit about his education and the skills he learned that shaped the rest of his life:

Henry Allen Tupper considered his father to be a wise man although he was a man of few words. One of the words he did share with his son was concerning business. Tristam Tupper required that all business should be done carefully and systematically. He made Henry Allen withdraw from college in order to learn the skill of bookkeeping and did not allow him to leave the family business until he had become the bookkeeper. Years later, H. A. Tupper remarked that these were “the most important years of my education.” This skill would prove invaluable at the Foreign Mission Board.

Would that fathers take such an invested interest in their sons and daughters. The investment of a father into the life of their child is the wetting of the clay in the potter’s hand. What things the potter may do with pliable clay! What can we learn from these men of yesteryear?

-Source, Robert Alton James, “A Study of the Life and Contributions of Henry Allen Tupper” (ThD Dissertation, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 1989) 13,

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