No. 1221



There is an old saying that I have heard all my life that goes, “You raise corn but you rear children.” This saying has helped to remind me many times over the years -- especially after I had used the wrong word -- that habits are hard to break. What brought this saying to mind was a recent encounter I had with a young boy who epitomizes what I believe to be a role model for other parents who truly care and wish to rear their children right. If you are a parent or grandparent of a young person still in the formative process of learning to make their way in the world, I hope you will really tune me in, because what I am going to say could make a real difference in their future.
This young boy’s name is Layne Faulk. He is 13 years of age, lives in Damascus, Arkansas, and is the son of Travis and Sancy Faulk. If memory serves me right, I have only been around this youngster three times. The first time was a couple of years ago when he was visiting relatives, who are our neighbors. Another neighbor had invited several couples over for lunch, and Layne came with them. The second time was at a Mexican restaurant in Damascus. He and his family were having lunch there when Janis and I stopped in for a bite as well.
The third time, and the reason for this column, was at another restaurant in Conway, and Layne came in with some of his extended family members. When Layne saw me he waved at me and we exchanged greetings. Then, when they were ready to leave, Layne came over to our table, shook hands with me and told me he was glad to see me. I told him I was proud of him. And they left.
You may say, “There is nothing special about that” and you would be right, but he made a great impression on me, and that is my point. The bottom line is that his parents are “rearing” him right. Good manners, along with old fashioned values like character and respect, will serve him well all the years of his life.
The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” To be sure, in today’s times, it takes a lot of time and effort to rear a successful, happy and well-adjusted child. There are so many forces out there that are unhealthy, and most of the programs on television these days have little or no character building values and content that will sustain him in tough times that are sure to come. I shudder to think about the challenges that will confront my children and grandchildren when I am gone and no longer here to counsel them.
There is one thing that I hope you will take away from what I am saying. We should be concerned about the welfare of all children, but when it comes to our own, we are responsible for them and should do everything we can to prepare them for a successful life. One way to do this is to establish a relationship where you have long talks with them. Talk about life and real values that are important, like treating others with dignity and respect, always being honest and telling the truth, and always being willing to pay their own way.
While we should always be friends, we must establish a parent/child relationship where there is never any doubt about why sometimes you have to make hard choices that are in their best interest. And tell them often that you love them.
(Editor’s Note: JIM DAVIDSON is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states, making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)