No. 238



The German educator Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852), a famous proponent of the kindergarten once said, A child is an ever bubbling fountain in the world of humanity. Of all the gifts that God has given us humans, a child is by far the most precious for a multitude of reasons. We see in our children an image of ourselves and during our lifetime they can bring us great joy and satisfaction or they can bring us disappointment, despair and sadness.

While child rearing is not an exact science, there are certain parenting skills that if learned and applied properly can make a childs future so much brighter. In the news almost every day we see and hear tragic stories of child abuse, neglect and even death that is brought about by one or both parents who never learned the love, discipline and skills necessary to rear a happy, responsible and well adjusted child. Many times those responsible for such callous and cruel acts were themselves a product of homes where they were allowed to be totally out of control.

Do you know children who fit this description? If you do, then Im sure you are as sad as I am when we both think of what unpleasant events could be in this childs future. My prayer as I share the following true story about a young two year old child who is totally out of control is that parents throughout the land will take a serious look as to whether or not they are actually contributing to a future juvenile, and God forbid, an even more tragic life as an adult. The good news for the very young, and many others as well, is that there is still time to take corrective action because as the twig is bent, so grows the tree.

A young mother who has a precious young son who gets love, care and discipline was telling me about another couples son in the toddler department who is not only out of control but he is destructive. One day, Larry (not his real name) came up behind her son and hit him in the back of the head so hard that it caused great pain and it disrupted the whole department. Another young girl in this class has beautiful long hair and Larry came up behind her and pulled her hair so hard that it yanked her all the way to the floor. When his mother was told about it, she remarked, Well, he has always been fascinated by long hair.

If you have ever been in a setting where 10-15 children were in a daycare, birthday party or childrens department at church and they were all playing and getting along great and along comes one child who is totally out of control and ruins the whole experience, then you are getting the picture. At this point, its time to set the record straight. The problem is not the child, its the childs parents. Almost from the time a child is born, he begins to look for boundaries to be set for his behavior. If those boundaries are not firmly established, the child will just keep expanding those boundaries until he is like Larry.

I was telling this story to a man a few days ago and he said when he was growing up his daddy gave him a spanking and later a whipping when he needed it, but with a slightly different wrinkle. He said he could get in trouble on Monday and his daddy would say, Son, Thursday afternoon at 3 Oclock Im going to give you a whipping. This way he got to think about it for a few days. Here is the clincher. His daddy never forgot. Now, I know that many people disagree with the Biblical admonition of spare the rod and spoil the child but regardless of what method Larrys parents are using, it Aint working. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)