James V. Browning
A radical calling to minister to children is what James Browning experienced. In 1946, he entered Hardin-Simmons University. As a freshman, during Religious Focus Week, he attended a chapel service with the theme “Prepare now for the vocation in which you can have the most influence for Christ.” He was so moved, he changed his major that week to prepare to work with children. After working in education and child care in Texas, he moved his family to Oklahoma City in 1954 to become the resident manager of Oklahoma Baptist Orphans’ Home. After the creation of the Department of Child Care, his title changed to Superintendent.
Browning’s administration of the Home involved supervision of the staff, grounds, and equipment, in addition to childcare. Staff training was an area in which he had tremendous success, both at the Home and for other local and national facilities. He once said, “No children’s home anywhere is any better than the people who work directly with children. Give me good workers and I can take an army barrack and make it a good home.” When Browning retired as Superintendent in 1985, the average stay of houseparents at the Home was five years, compared to an 18-month national average. He also founded and led several professional childcare providers associations during his career.
When discussing children, he once said, “It matters not where the children come from; it is where they are going that counts. All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today – our children. We can’t value them enough.”
James Browning touched the lives of more than 3,000 children in his 31-year administration.