Looking back over four generations, there is little I can say that will be meaningful to my readers today. But, then again let me try. There were 9 of us counting mother and dad. Mother was a stay-at-home mom. We didn’t know anybody that had any other kind. She was always there. She prepared our lunches for school and lined them up on the small shelf by the screened porch door. Since I was the youngest, I would stand and watch the six pick up their lunch and hurry in their walk to school. It was only a mile away.
When we wore holes in the bottom of our shoes, we used card-board (cut-to-size) until money could be found for replacement. The problem then was all seven needed replacing. Three of us boys shared a room in the back with an oversized bed. Our older brother had to sleep on a cot in the dinning room because he seemingly couldn’t find his way to the bathroom during the night.
We had two things on the table at all meals. They were call “TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT“. We could take all we wanted but had to eat all we took. Mother said that if we didn’t eat it all the little children in China would starve. There were four pine tress that ushered our dirt driveway to the garage. That’s where dad got the switches for any capitol offense that had been committed. The trees barely survived our growing up days. We were religious, at least outwardly. You could set your clocks by the entry of the Exums during the singing of the third song. We were always late. But there were nine of us and we were 10 miles away from our ‘home’ congregation; there always seemed to be a last minute emergency. We were allowed to sit anywhere we wanted as long as it was in front of mother and dad. They sat on in the second row. So how would any or all of this relate to kids now? Time has changed and so have our homes and our way of life.
Ann and I have two pets. “Miss Precious” came by accident. I dialed the wrong number and got her. She is truly precious, a banner of a female that has the very best manners of any pet we have every owned. They say miniature Poodles are that way. Two years later we adopted a kitty and we named her Mollie. They have grown to love each other, eat each other’s food, drink from the same fountain and sleep in the same bed (ours).
What does “DOG TRAINING” have to do with raising our kids? We changed but our dogs haven’t.
In speaking on “rearing children”, I used to begin by giving the following list on discipline and how to administer it.
- Absolutely no nagging or threatening. Forget the hassle and don’t threaten to punish – just discipline.
- Try to keep everything in a ‘black and white’ mode. Little ones do not grasp the ‘grey areas’.
- Never correct in anger or frustration. Your control is necessary in teaching them control.
- Deliberate action should be taken. “Re-action” does little in training but bring frustration to the trainer.
- Correction is always best when the beginners are caught in the very act. When correcting, always get their undivided attention, eye to eye and face to face. The language barrier is best bridged that way.
- After discipline – then praise. Love reinforces the correction and allows life to go forward. No hang-overs or “we’ll tend to this tomorrow.”
- Correction MUST BE reinforced by consistency. This is the way character is built and good habit is formed.
Now let’s begin.
The faces of your audience are in full agreement that these are fine principles in raising kids. They always burst out laughing, talking, pointing with that surprise look on their face when I tell them that “THIS IS THE LIST GIVEN TO US AS WE BEGAN OUR FIRST LESSON (PAID TUITION) ON TRAINING OUR DOG.”
The obvious author of the book of Hebrews was Paul and this was his instruction concerning discipline. “Endure hardship as discipline. God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined (corrected or chastised) by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children (the King James uses the word “bastard”) and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more shall we submit to the Father of our spirits and live.
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed” (Hebrews 12:7-12).
Put the record straight, I’m not comparing our pets to our children, but it is comforting to see a likeness in how we treat both. Show me how you treat your pickup and as a rule and others will see it as a reflection in how you are keeping your house.