No. 923


If you are old enough to remember the days when you were driving down the road and would come to a car or truck pulled over to the side, the hood up, and steam bellowing from the radiator, you will certainly relate to what I want to share with you today.
Before the days of modern technology, cars and trucks had a radiator to hold water to keep them cool and a radiator cap with a thermostat to monitor the temperature. If the radiator got too hot and boiled dry, drastic action had to be taken, like putting some more water in the radiator.
Now, believe it or not, this is what happens to people who also get too hot. If they are not cooled down, they will explode and the consequences can be devastating for anyone around them. While in varying degrees, this is what happens in a large percentage of domestic violence cases. Sadly, some of these are deadly. In a high percentage of domestic violence cases, the real victims are children who often wind up being scarred for life. For most of my readers who, like me, have never been involved in this sort of thing, we need to know more so we can help those who are suffering every day of their lives.
Several weeks ago we had a terrific speaker at our Lions Club who has a passion for children who are the victims of custody cases. His name is H.G. Foster, circuit judge for the First Division of the 20th Judicial District Circuit Court. Judge Foster told us about many of the cases that come to his court where a young child is present and he has to rule on which parent gets the child. Because there was no better place, quite often the child had to sit out in the hall where they could hear the proceedings taking place in the courtroom. In most cases what the child was hearing was not pretty, and I am sure you get the picture.
Our community is in the process of building a new Criminal Justice Building. The old courthouse, where offices are now housed, has a top floor that was formerly the jail, and it was not being used. Without using any tax money, Judge Foster got some paint and children’s furniture donated, used inmate labor, and created a place for the children,. He found volunteer college students to work with these children while court was in session. The kids felt safe, so much so that one said she had rather stay with them than to go with either parent.
What I have just shared is not what I set out to tell you about, but the bottom line is that we have the ability to control the environment where we find ourselves, unless we happen to be a young child in a custody dispute. I might add that this is an issue that our nation’s teachers deal with every day. While there may not be violence, they have children that come from dysfunctional homes where there is little structure, discipline and love, which is the most important of all. We all have good days and bad days, but teachers in most cases can create the environment and determine if his or her students will have a sunny day, a rainy day or a stormy day. Since our daily moods make the weather, teachers and parents alike should try to shield children from the thunder and lightning of our frustrations and anger.
As I thought about what I wanted to share with you today, I was reminded of a verse in the Bible that will go a long way in resolving the issues that confront us on a regular basis. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” If you have a problem with anger, or want to pop off, like that radiator cap, just remember what I have said, think before you speak and then let your words be soft.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)