Preaching to strangers-- perhaps missionizing the way these people did was their way to engage in the chase, the quest, and each convert they made was like scoring dope.
All that preaching and crusading might have been little different (neurologically) from the junkie's quest for heroin.
But..with the aura of prestige.
By contrast, taking care of tiny children--parents have to defer their own gratification, in service to the needs of the children. There isnt the prestige in childcare that there was (and is) in winning pagan souls for Jesus. And in the 19th/early 20th century little was known of the catastrophic effects on children of being separated early from parents.
Again, it is part of heroin addict jargon to speak of 'going on a mission' or 'being on a mission' when looking to score dope.
It would be especially interesting to find out if your great grandparents' church was temperance based.
Some transfer the addict mentality from use of alcohol and drugs to crusade mentality on behalf of an organization.
They're still chasing dopamine but the focus is different.
And with religions, if an addicts mentality is in play, whether its missionizing for Jesus or missionizing for Ikeda, its no different--its the aching 'rush' -- the dopamine thrust.
I think you nailed it, corboy.
While I'm not sure about their church's precise teachings on alcohol, I never saw them drink and, since they were Baptists, it's very likely that temperance was a part of their church's doctrines. My grandfather had two sisters who were Pentecostals - CRAZY Pentecostals, if that gives you any further background.
In fact, the one, Great Aunt Grace, awoke one night to see Satan sitting at the foot of her bed! "Satan, you get out of here!" she said. And he did!
Another time, she was having trouble with her adenoids. Oh, how they were bothering her! So she prayed and prayed one night, and when she got up the next morning, she blew her nose, and there they were in her handkerchief, the nasty things!
Only problem with that story is that the adenoids are absorbed by the body at puberty...and disappear...
Did I tell you about how the other Pentecostal Aunt, Aunt Jane, tried to get my uncle to speak in tongues? She had him kneel by the sofa, and she knelt behind him, and started whacking him on the back, over and over, yelling "Praise him! Praise him!" After about a minute of this, he said, rather quietly (as was his style), "I don't think this is working." She then sat back on her heels, sighed, and said, "You just don't praise him."
That reminds me of when I was a newly minted YWD - hadn't even gotten my gohonzon yet. We were preparing for that Liberty Bell trip out to Philadelphia and for marching in their parade, so we from Minneapolis were driving down to Chicago each weekend for practices. That was, like, an 8-hr drive or so. Well, I'd burned the inside of the crook of my arm, the inside of my elbow, ironing, and I went the one weekend, while it was fresh, and between the sun, the sweat, and the sunscreen (this was summer, remember), it wasn't good. It was getting infected. So when my YWD Chapter Chief said something to me about the next weekend's trip, I cited my infecting arm and said I was going to stay home. She shook her head and sighed, "Maybe someday you'll develop the 'no matter what' spirit." I pointed out that I had already spent the previous weekend there and that, since I already knew the music AND had more marching experience than anyone, I was the least likely to *need* to go. She then acquiesced, "Yeah, I suppose that was kind of snarky" or something. I wasn't yet beaten down enough to pull that crap on, you see.
When parents are obsessed with something to the point that they neglect their own children, the children grow up with damaged brains. It doesn't matter how supposedly "virtuous" the parent's obsession is - it's still sick and destructive.