Thursday, October 16, 2014
“Children are gifts. They are not ours for the breaking. They are ours for the making.” ― Dan Pearce
I don’t think anyone living knows these stories, but I started down the wrong path at an early age. When I was five years old, I was very angry at my mother for something, so I was going to run away from home. While she was taking a nap, I headed out. We were living in Dallas at the time, and I got about two blocks away and came to a 7-11. I went in and picked up a dozen eggs and boldly told the clerk my mother sent me to get them but didn’t trust me with money (I was five, remember?). He gave me the eggs as he knew our family well. Unbeknownst to me, he immediately called my mother. On the way back home, my plans for running away long gone, I broke every egg in that carton by throwing them on the ground one at a time. Then, I threw away the carton. I went in the house to find my mother waiting. “Where are the eggs?” she demanded. “What eggs?” I lied. My mother told me to wait till my father got home, but he thought it was funny, so nothing bad happened to me. Thus it began. Not too many years later in the eighth grade, I was a member of a gang. We decided to cut the phone line to the school by throwing a rope over it and then hooking the other end of the rope to a car waiting at the stop sign. It worked well. As soon as the car pulled away, there was a loud snap and the line came down shooting sparks all over the place. The school went dark. We had mistaken the power line for the phone line. Since we were the only ones laughing, the teachers knew who had done it, and we were all expelled for a week. One of the guys would later become the President of the United States. This was at San Jacinto Junior High School in Midland, Texas, and you can Google the former President who attended there with me in the 1950’s. This time, my mother threatened to send me to the preacher if I did anything like that again. You can see that the absence of any real negative consequences for my bad acts only encouraged me to do more of them. It wouldn’t be until I was forty years old that I would turn my life around. It didn’t happen overnight. After I became a Christian, it took me seven years just to clean up my language. In private, I still slip sometimes. You are not being a loving parent if you do not set boundaries and provide negative consequences for bad behavior. Children need to know they are loved because you care enough to tell them “no!” God does the same for us. Love your children dearly, but don’t think that letting them do whatever they want is showing total love—quite the opposite. Love them enough to care about how you are “bending that twig.” I deeply regret the bad things I did, especially the ones that caused hurt to others, and even though I have received forgiveness from Christ, I still remember and am sorrowful for my actions. If you really love others, you don’t let them do things that will lead them astray. They may not like you for it at the time, but it is the right thing to do. Doing the right thing is not hard to figure out, it is having the courage to do it that sets you apart from the others.