John's father, Leonard, was a businessman in Wales, Great Britain. He was also a lay preacher, thoroughly committed to the Lord Jesus Christ. John had vivid memories of his mother and father rising at 4:30 AM each morning. Anstice, his mother, would start a fire in the kitchen stove, and put the kettle on for tea. With a shawl over his shoulders, Leonard would light the kerosene lamp, open his Bible, and begin to read. Blessed with a photographic memory, John's father could read anything twice, and it was stamped in his mind forever.
In later years, his father often told John that he envied his ability to "outline and alliterate." John would have loved to have had the incredible memory of his father. But God is gracious to all His children, and "God set the members, every one of them, in the body, as it hath pleased Him." (I Corinthians 12:18). John was wonderfully blessed by the memories of his father and mother. In years to come, he would praise God for their impact upon his life.
John's ambition, as a lad in school, was to excel in sports, but he had a problem with his eyesight. An ophthalmologist diagnosed the problem when he was ten years old and solved it by prescribing thick-lens glasses. That ended John's dreams of being a sports hero, however, the new glasses enhanced his ability to read, and a perceptive aunt recognized the enormity of her nephew's disappointment, and introduced him to the public library.
Thus, a whole new world was opened to John, for he became an avid reader, a pursuit he followed all his life. There were two exceptions: he refused to read anything that was defiling or that contained profanity. Still, he read widely, as illustrations in his books reveal.
In years to come he became world-famous as a gifted author, a gift he might never have realized had his initial ambitions been achieved. Further, he learned the truth of God's Word to "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct Thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6).