In the 1950s a psychologist, Stanton Samenow, and a psychiatrist, Samuel
Yochelson, sharing the conventional wisdom that crime is caused by environment, set out to prove their
point. They began a 17-year study involving thousands of hours of clinical testing of 250 inmates here in the District of
Columbia. To their astonishment, they discovered that the cause of crime cannot be traced to environment, poverty, or oppression.
Instead, crime is the result of individuals making, as they put it, wrong moral choices.
In their 1977 work The Criminal Personality, they concluded that the answer to crime is a
"conversion of the wrong-doer to a more responsible lifestyle." In 1987, Harvard professors James Q. Wilson and Richard J.
Herrnstein came to similar conclusions in their book Crime and Human Nature. They determined that the cause of crime is a lack
of proper moral training among young people during the morally formative years, particularly ages one to six.
Christianity Today, August 16, 1993, p. 30.
According to a recent study, young men with high self-esteem shared some common
childhood influences. There were three major characteristics of their families. (1) The
high-esteem group was clearly more loved and appreciated at home than the low-esteem
group. (2) The high-esteem group came from homes where parents had been significantly more
strict in their approach to discipline. By contrast, the parents of the low-esteem group
had created insecurity and dependence through their permissiveness. Their children were
more likely to feel that the rules were not enforced because no one cared enough to get
involved. (3) The homes of the high-esteem group were also characterized by democracy and
openness. Once the boundaries were established, there was freedom for individual
personalities to grow and develop. Thus, the overall atmosphere was marked by acceptance
and emotional safety.
Dr. James Dobson, Focus of the Family Bulletin,
Undoubtedly, the most stressful time for any couple is parenthood. Carolyn and Philip
Cowan, psychologists with the University of California, Berkeley, found that 92 percent of
new parents report more conflict and lower satisfaction. Pennsylvania State psychologist
Jay Belsky, who has just completed a seven-year study of 250 sets of new parents, finds
that only 19 percent say their marriages improved after the birth of a child. Couples
usually look forward to the birth of a baby as a time of closeness, but Belsky found that
nearly all new parents grew more polarized and self-centered in response to the fatigue
Difficult transitions like parenthood are also the times when spouses are most
vulnerable to an extramarital affair, find psychologists Tom Wright and Shirley Glass. But
more often than not, Glass and Wright find, having an affair says more about the
individual than the marriage. Spouses with loving marriages but with an excessive need for
admiration or thrills are notorious for extramarital dalliances. But even for more regular
folks, taking on new roles makes one ripe for philandering. "Even given a rich, happy
marriage, it's often easier to form a new image in the eyes of someone new," says
Glass. "Trying to change your identity inside a marriage is akin to the new CEO of a
major company visiting his parents, only to find they still see him as the baby of the
An affair is arguably the most shocking blow to a marriage. Yet study after study finds
that wayward spouses are quite happy with their love life at home, both the quantity and
quality -- as happy, in fact, as their faithful counterparts. Psychologists are divided
about the ramifications of an affair. "I liken an affair to the shattering of a
Waterford crystal vase," says Gootman. "You can glue it back together, but it
will never sing again." But Glass and Wright, currently studying couples recovering
from affairs, find that not only do two thirds decide to stay together, but many report a
newfound richness and closeness gained through conquering the ordeal together.
Perhaps the best ideas about what keeps a marriage alive through thick and thin come
from couples who, after decades of marriage, bask in blissful unions. Berkeley
psychologist Robert Levenson is now in the process of studying pairs who have been
together 40 years or more. So far, reports from the front indicate that these couples are
masters in soothing one another and preventing each other's distress during conflict.
These enduring couples also display a distinctly mellowed approach to marital differences,
with far less conflict and far more pleasure than younger couples. And as a couple ages,
gender differences appear to fade away, replaced by a more unified view of marriage and
life. A nice ending to a bumpy ride.
U.S. News & World Report, February 21, 1994,
Columnist Ellen Goodman wrote a powerful editorial on this topic, a portion of which
Sooner or later; most Americans become card-carrying members of the counterculture.
This is not an underground holdout of Hippies. No beads are required. All you need to join
is a child.
At some point between Lamaze and PTA, it becomes clear that one of your main jobs as a
parent is to counter the culture. What the media deliver to children by the masses, you
are expected to rebut one at a time. But it occurs to me now that the call for "parental responsibility" is
increasing in direct proportion to the irresponsibility of the marketplace. Parents are
expected to protect their children from an increasingly hostile environment. Are the kids being sold junk food? Just say no. Is TV bad? Turn it off. Are there
messages about sex, drugs, violence all around? Counter the culture.
Mothers and fathers are expected to screen virtually every aspect of their children's
lives. To check the ratings on the movies, to read the labels on the CDs, to find out if
there's MTV in the house next door. All the while keeping in touch with school and in
their free time, earning a living.
Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, a research associate at the Institute for American Values,
found this out in interviews with middle-class parents. "A common complaint I heard
from parents was their sense of being overwhelmed by the culture. They felt relatively
more helpless than their parents."
"Parents," she notes, "see themselves in a struggle for the hearts and
minds of their own children." It isn't that they can't say no. It's that there's so
much more to say no to.
Without wallowing in false nostalgia, there has been a fundamental shift. Americans
once expected parents to raise their children in accordance with the dominant cultural
messages. Today they are expected to raise their children in opposition.
Once the chorus of cultural values was full of ministers, teachers, neighbors, leaders.
They demanded more conformity, but offered more support. Now the messengers are Ninja
Turtles, Madonna, rap groups, and celebrities pushing sneakers. Parents are considered
"responsible" only if they are successful in their resistance.
It's what makes child-raising harder. It's why parents feel more isolated. It's not
just that American families have less time with their kids, it's that we have to spend
more of this time doing battle with our own culture. It's rather like trying to get your kids to eat their green beans after they've been
told all day about the wonders of Milky Way. Come to think of it, it's exactly like that.
Goodman, "Battling Our Culture Is Parents' Task," Chicago Tribune,
August 18, 1993.
Focus on the Family
Newsletter, February, 1994.
With divorce and dual careers, parents spend 40% less time with their children than
parents did a generation ago.
Charles Colson, Christianity Today, March 7, 1994, p. 80.
Concerned that his students were not really learning the material, an algebra teacher
sent a note home to parents, asking them not to do any to the homework assigned to their
children. The next day, one student turned in a reply from his parents: "Dear Mr.
Wood, we are flattered that you think we could."
Americans are so shaped and stamped by their legacy of individualism that the concepts
of community virtue and moral obligation have been discredited In our popular culture,
adulthood is too often defined as doing what you want to do, not what you are supposed to
do. Making a baby is a sign of status, while caring for one is not. Right and wrong are
old-fashioned, politically incorrect concepts. And sin? Forget it. The problem doesn't end
with ghetto kids getting pregnant and going on welfare. Half of all Americans who marry
and have children eventually divorce. For many, marriage is more like a hobby than a
commitment, a phase instead of a trust. We are becoming a country of deadbeat dads who
don't pay their bills and dead-tired moms who work two jobs to pick up the slack. Even
many parents who pay for their children don't pay attention to their children. In so
doing, they miss out on some of life's greatest joys: hearing a small giggle or holding a
small hand. As Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders notes, it is easier for many children to
find drugs "than it is for them to find hugs." Probably the best thing that
society can do for its toddlers is to make "parent" an honorable title again. No
job is more important, yet no job is more often taken for granted. We teach work skills
but not life skills, how to change a carburetor but not a diaper, how to treat a customer
but not a kid. Becoming a parent should be the result of love, not just sex; a sign of a
lasting relationship, not just a passing infatuation; a source of pride, and not remorse.
Only then will our children be safe.
Steven V. Roberts, U.S. News and World Report,
April 25, 1994, p. 11.
Owne Wister, an old college friend of Theodore Roosevelt, was visiting him at the White House. Roosevelt's daughter Alice
kept running in and out of the room until Wister finally asked if there wasn't something Roosevelt could do to control her.
"Well," said the President, "I can do one of two things. I can
be President of the United States or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both."
Bits & Pieces, December 9, 1993, p. 16.
In his recent book The Future of the American Family (Moody, 1993), George Barna noted
the following, "According to a nationwide survey conducted by the Los Angeles Times
in 1990, most parents (56%) feel guilty about not spending enough time with their
children" (p. 171). In the same chapter Barna noted, "A study in 1991 by the
National Commission on Children reported that six out of ten parents want to spend more
time with their families" (p 172).
George Barna, The Future of the American Family,
"Father, what is sex sin?"
My father turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my
surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack
over our heads, and set it on the floor.
"Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?" he said. I stood up and tugged at
it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
"It's too heavy," I said.
"Yes," he said. "And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his
little girl to carry such a load. It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some
knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For
now you must trust me to carry it for you."
And I was satisfied. More than satisfied -- wonderfully at peace. There were answers to
this and all my hard questions -- but now I was content to leave them in my father's
Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place.
Writer Charles Swindoll once found himself with too many commitments in too few days.
He got nervous and tense about it.
"I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down my food at mealtimes,
and feeling irritated at those unexpected interruptions through the day," he recalled
in his book Stress Fractures. "Before long, things around our home started reflecting
the patter of my hurry-up style. It was becoming unbearable.
"I distinctly remember after supper one evening, the words of our younger
daughter, Colleen. She wanted to tell me something important that had happened to her at
school that day. She began hurriedly, 'Daddy, I wanna tell you somethin' and I'll tell you
"Suddenly realizing her frustration, I answered, 'Honey, you can tell me -- and you
don't have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly."
"I'll never forget her answer: 'Then listen slowly.'"
Bits & Pieces, June 24, 1993, pp. 13-14.
When the 10-year-olds in Mrs. Imogene Frost's class at the Brookside, N.J. Community
Sunday School expressed their views of "What's wrong with grownups?" they came
up with these complaints:
1. Grownups make promises, then they forget all about them, or else they say it wasn't
really a promise, just a maybe.
2. Grownups don't do the things they're always telling the children to do--like pick up
their things, or be neat, or always tell the truth.
3. Grownups never really listen to what children have to say. They always decide ahead
of time what they're going to answer.
4. Grownups make mistakes, but they won't admit them. They always pretend that they
weren't mistakes at all--or that somebody else made them.
5. Grownups interrupt children all the time and think nothing of it. If a child
interrupts a grownup, he gets a scolding or something worse.
6. Grownups never understand how much children want a certain thing--a certain color or
shape or size. If it's something they don't admire--even if the children have spent their
own money for it--they always say, "I can't imagine what you want with that old
7. Sometimes grownups punish children unfairly. It isn't right if you've done just some
little thing wrong and grownups take away something that means an awful lot to you. Other
times you can do something really bad and they say they're going to punish you, but they
don't. You never know, and you ought to know.
8. Grownups are always talking about what they did and what they knew when they were 10
years old--but they never try to think what it's like to be 10 years old right now.
J. A. Petersen (Ed.), For
Families Only, 1977, p. 253.
I gave you life,
but I cannot live it for you.
I can teach you things
but I cannot make you learn.
I can give you directions
but I cannot always be there to lead you.
I can allow you freedom
but I cannot account for it.
I can take you to church
but I cannot make you believe.
I can teach you right from wrong
but I can't always decide for you.
I can buy you beautiful clothes
but I cannot make you lovely inside.
I can offer you advice
but I cannot accept it for you.
I can give you love
but I cannot force it upon you.
I can teach you to be a friend
but I cannot make you one.
I can teach you to share
but I cannot make you unselfish.
I can teach you respect
but I can't force you to show honor.
I can grieve about your report card
but I cannot doubt your teachers.
I can advise you about friends
but I cannot choose them for you.
I can teach you about sex
but I cannot keep you pure.
I can tell you the facts of life
but I can't build your reputation.
I can tell you about drink
but I can't say NO for you.
I can warn you about drugs
but I can't prevent you from using them.
I can tell you about lofty goals,
but I can't achieve them for you.
I can teach you kindness,
but I can't force you to be gracious.
I can warn you about sins
but I cannot make your morals
I can love you as a daughter or son
but I cannot place you in God's Family.
I can pray for you
but I cannot make you walk with God.
I can teach you about Jesus
but I cannot make HIM your Saviour.
I can teach you to OBEY
but I cannot make Jesus Your Lord.
I can tell you how to live
but I cannot give you Eternal Life.
- Day care during infancy is associated with "deviations" in the expected course of emotional development.
- Infants placed in twenty or more hours of day care per week avoid their mothers and are insecurely attached; some have
attachment problems with both mothers and fathers.
- Children placed in day care receive less adult attention, communicate less, receive and display less affection,
are more aggressive, and are less responsive to adults.
- Compared with children who were cared for by their mothers as preschoolers, third-graders who were placed in day
care as preschoolers are viewed more negatively by their peers, have lower academic grades, and demonstrate poorer study skills.
Steve Farrar, Family Survival in the American Jungle,
1991, Multnomah Press, p. 105.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the first African Secretary General of the United Nations, has more than a passing interest
in politics. His grandfather, Boutros Ghali, the only Christian prime minister of Egypt, was shot by an assassin in 1910. Cairo
crowds hailed his Moslem killer, but the family did not intend anyone to forget the grandfather. They adopted his given name,
Boutros (Peter), and anointed the new grandchild with the same given name. The family then built a church in Cairo to honor the martyred patriarch.
"On his tomb were the words 'God is witness that I served my country to the best of
my ability,'" says Boutros-Ghali. "For a boy to grow up with such things creates
an impact. I felt I would betray the tradition of our family if I didn't play a political
Stanley Meisler, Reader's Digest.
A group of expectant fathers were in a waiting room, while their wives were in the
process of delivering babies. A nurse came in and announced to one man that his wife had
just given birth to twins. "That's quite a coincidence" he responded, "I
play for the Minnesota Twins!" A few minutes later another nurse came in and
announced to another man that he was the father of triplets. "That's amazing,"
he exclaimed, "I work for the 3M company." At that point, a third man slipped
off his chair and laid down on the floor. Somebody asked him if he was feeling ill.
"No," he responded, "I happen to work for the 7-Up company."
Every conscientious parent recognizes how difficult it is to exercise his God-given authority over his children. The
delicate balance of being tough yet tender is not easy to maintain. Many parents intensify a rebellious spirit by being
dictatorial and harsh. Others yield when their authority is tested. When a strong-willed child resists, the pressure to give
in for the sake of peace and harmony can become overpowering. I am reminded of the
mother who wanted to have the last word but couldn't handle the hassle that resulted
whenever she said no to her young son. After an especially trying day, she finally flung
up her hands and shouted, "All right, Billy, do whatever you want! Now let me see you
Our Daily Bread.
Why do toy makers watch the divorce rate? When it rises, so do toy sales. According to the analyzers, four parents and eight
grandparents tend to compete for children's affections, so buy toys.
L.M. Boyd, Spokesman Review, March 15, 1993.
You can have a brighter child, it all depends on your expectations. Before you're tempted to say, "Not true," let me
tell you about Harvard social psychologist Robert Rosenthal's classic study. All the children in one San Francisco grade
school were given a standard I.Q. test at the beginning of the school year. The teachers were told the test could predict which students could be
expected to have a spurt of academic and intellectual functioning. The researchers then
drew names out of a hat and told the teachers that these were the children who had
displayed a high potential for improvement. Naturally, the teachers thought they had been
selected because of their test performance and began treating these children as special
And the most amazing thing happened -- the spurters, spurted! Overall, the "late blooming" kids averaged four more
I.Q. points on the second test that the other group of students. However, the gains were most dramatic in the lowest grades.
First graders whose teachers expected them to advance intellectually jumped 27.4 points, and the second grade spurters
increased on the average 16.5 points more than their peers. One little Latin-American child who had been classified as mentally
retarded with an I.Q. of 61, scored 106 after his selection as a late bloomer.
Isn't this impressive! It reminds me of what Eliza Doolittle says in My Fair Lady, "The difference between a lady
and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated." You see, how a child is treated has a lot to do with how
that child sees herself and ultimately behaves. If a child is treated as a slow learner and you don't expect much, the child
shrugs her shoulders and says, "Why should I try, nobody thinks I can do it
anyway!" And she gives up. But if you look at that child as someone who has more
potential than she will ever be able to develop, you will challenge that child, work with her through discouragement, and
find ways to explain concepts so the child can understand. You won't mind investing time in the child because you know your
investment is going to pay off! And the result? It does!
So, what's the message for parents? Just this: Every child benefits from someone who believes in him, and the younger
the child, the more important it is to have high expectations. You may not have an Einstein, but your child has possibilities!
Expect the best and chances are, that's exactly what you'll get.
Kay Kuzma, Family Times, Vol. 1, No. 3, Fall, 1992,
The fame and popularity of Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen rested largely on his children's fairy tales, written
over a period of some 37 years and translated into scores of languages. Andersen was well aware of this fact -- so much so
that late in life, he told the musician who was to compose a march for his funeral, "Most of the people who will walk after me
will be children, so make the beat keep time with little steps."
Today in the Word, January 15, 1993.
Property Laws of a Toddler
(Evidences of Original Sin)
Test this on the toddlers in your home or church this Christmas!
1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.
5. If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it's mine.
8. If I saw it first, it's mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it
automatically becomes mine.
10. If it's broken, it's yours.
Deb Lawrence, Missionary to the Philippines with SEND International, quoted in
Prokope, November/December, 1992, p. 3.
Prevention is better than correction, suggests an English study of criminal behavior, and the key may be better training
for parents. The Cambridge Study of Delinquent Development tracked 411 London males from ages 8 to 32. It found that a man was most
likely to be convicted of criminal behavior if he'd experienced the following between the ages of 8 and 11:
- a broken home
- low family income
- poor housing
- antisocial parents and siblings
- poor parental supervision
- harsh, erratic child-rearing behavior
- delinquent friends
- problems in school
The study suggests that better training for the parents of young boys, as well as improved preschools, might go a long
way toward reducing future crime rates.
YouthWorker Update, Signs of the Times, November, 1992,
No Time to Play
My precious boy with the golden hair
Came up one day beside my chair
And fell upon his bended knee
And said, "Oh, Mommy, please play with me!"
I said, "Not now, go on and play;
I've got so much to do today."
He smiled through tears in eyes so blue
When I said, "We'll play when I get through."
But the chores lasted all through the day
And I never did find time to play.
When supper was over and dishes done,
I was much too tired for my little son.
I tucked him in and kissed his cheek
And watched my angel fall asleep.
As I tossed and turned upon my bed,
Those words kept ringing in my head,
"Not now, son, go on and play,
I've got so much to do today."
I fell asleep and in a minute's span,
My little boy is a full-grown man.
No toys are there to clutter the floor;
No dirty fingerprints on the door;
No snacks to fix; no tears to dry;
The rooms just echo my lonely sigh.
And now I've got the time to play;
But my precious boy is gone away.
I awoke myself with a pitiful scream
And realized it was just a dream
For across the room in his little bed,
Lay my curly-haired boy, the sleepy-head.
My work will wait 'till another day
For now I must find some time to play.
Dianna (Mrs. Joe) Neal.
That Age-Old Question
by Phil Callaway
It's a lazy Sunday afternoon, and my 5-year-old son, Stephen, and I are sprawled across
the couch. I'm reading aloud from C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, and my boy is lapping up every word.
With each page, he studies my every inflection. Ah, quality time.
"Daddy," my blond son interrupts. "You're getting old."
"What did you say, Stephen?"
"You kinda look like Grandpa," he replies.
My son's blue eyes are scrutinizing me, searching for signs of
"What do you mean, I look like Grandpa?" I try to remain calm,
but inside I'm losing it.
"You have lines on your head."
"No, I don't...Do I?"
"Here, Here and here. You're getting old."
Oh, boy. I didn't need to hear this.
"Do you think I'm going to die soon, Stephen?"
"I don't know. How many are you?"
"I'm 30 years old. Remember? I just blew out 30 candles on my
cake -- or at least, most of them?
"How many is 30?"
"Well, it's this many three times," I say, showing him my hands
with all the fingers outstretched.
His blue eyes are really big now.
"Yep, you're old."
Now, I realize it doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine that the crown of my head bears a striking resemblance to a
mosquito landing zone. But until now, I thought I was doing all right. After all, 40 years is old, not 30. No way.
As I straighten up on the couch, the sad truth begins to sink in: I am 30. Three-oh, no longer a kid.
No longer do the neighborhood children call me "Phil." To them, I'm "Mr. Callaway." The college and up-and-coming pro athletes
aren't my contemporaries. They're kids.
What do I have to show for three decades on plant earth? It's not incredible wealth. We have a car that's paid for, but
the house is a rental. Like most folks, we're just plugging along. Now that I'm "old," I realize wealth is not measured in things
you can touch. Fame never got anyone to heaven. What is worth leaving is my faith in Jesus Christ. Yes, Stephen, that is what
I want to leave you. We are rich, my son. Rich in relationships. Rich in memories.
Rich in fun. I may not look that good in the will, but for someone approaching retirement age at light speed, it's worth
Phil Callaway, Focus on the Family, September, 1992,
Some Minimum Daily Requirements
by Charles White
Your child's journey from 4 to 14 is very short. Christian parents need to put God into each day during this impressionable
time. As a father of five foster children and a preschool teacher for 10 years, I'm convinced that the following practices -- instilled
early -- can teach children to hold onto God during the difficult adolescent period:
- Hang a picture of Christ in each child's bedroom. Children are often quicker to respond to pictures than to words.
- Teach your child how to pray. By the time a child is 5, he should be able to speak one-sentence prayers with a parent. By
the time he's 6, he should be looking for answers to his prayers. But avoid correcting a child's prayers. They are between him and God.
- Bless your child each morning. If you want to see sudden dramatic improvement in your family and young children, try this.
I admit it sounds formal, but it's been a miracle for many. Place one hand on the shoulder or head and repeat a blessing from Scripture, such as
one of the following: "May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine
upon you and give you peace" (Num. 6:24-26) or "May God strengthen you with
power through His spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your heart
through faith" (Eph. 3:16). You can also choose your own words. The spirit of the blessing impresses even the youngest children.
Giving a blessing can also renew a parent's heart.
- Take short walks. Get outside to God's world as much as possible. You can identify trees, capture bugs and look at
scenery. Let creation declare the glory of God.
- Purchase Scripture cards from your Christian bookstore and leave them on the kitchen table. Reading from God's Word as part of the mealtime prayer
is a great way to remind the family of God's presence.
- Display your child's Sunday school lesson. Letting a youngster's efforts die a painful death on the car floor can
leave hurt feelings.
Of course, none of these efforts is a guarantee that your daughter or son will know God. But incorporating some of these
ideas will be a daily reminder of His presence and love.
Charles White, Focus on the Family, September, 1992,
I would love my wife/husband more. In the closeness of family life it is easy to take each other for granted and let a
dullness creep in that can dampen even the deepest love. So, I would love the mother/father of my children more and be freer in
letting them see that love.
I would develop feelings of belonging. If children do not feel that they belong in the family, they will soon find
their primary group elsewhere. I would use meal times more to share happenings of the day instead of hurrying through them.
I'd find more time for games or projects which all could join.
I would laugh more with my children. The best way to make children good is to make them happy. I see now that I was,
many times, far too serious. I must always be careful that I do not communicate that being a parent is a constant problem.
I would be a better listener. I believe that there is a vital link between listening to children's concerns when they are
young and the extent to which they will share their concerns with their parents when
they are older.
I would do more encouraging. There is probably nothing that stimulates children to love life and seek accomplishment
more than sincere praise when they have done well.
I would try to share God more intimately. We are not whole persons when we stress only the physical, social and
intellectual aspects of life. We are spiritual beings, and if the world is to know God and his will, parents must be the
primary conveyors. For my part, I would strive to share my faith with my children,
using informal settings and unplanned happenings as occasions to speak of my relationship with God.
John Drescher, Content The Newsletter Newsletter, August, 1990,
The man in the supermarket was pushing a cart which contained, among other things, a screaming baby. As the man
proceeded along the aisles, he kept repeating softly, "Keep calm, George. Don't get excited, George. Don't get excited, George.
Don't yell, George."
A lady watching with admiration said to the man, "You are certainly to be commended for your patience in trying to quiet
"Lady," he declared, "I'm George."
There's an old story about two young children who were standing on the corner, bragging about who had moved from state
to state the most. One little boy said, "My family has moved three times in the last three years." "Hey!" said the other little boy.
"That's nothing. My parents have moved five times this year -- and I found them every
time!" It's safe to say that this second boy came from a home without a strong sense
G. Smalley and John Trent, Ph.D., The Gift of Honor,
Harry S. Truman:
I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then
advise them to do it.
Percentage of American teens who say they want to be like their parents: 39%
Charis Conn, (Ed.), What Counts: The Complete Harper's
Children today average 17 hours a week with Mom and Dad--40 percent less time than children spent with their parents in 1965.
And they spend more than 25 hours a week watching television.
Los Angeles Times, quoted in Signs of the
Times, May 1992.
Women who never have children enjoy the equivalent of an extra three months a year in leisure time, says Susan Lang, author of
Women Without Children. If that figure seems high, remember that the average mother spends 3.5 more hours a week doing housework than would a woman
without children, plus 11 hours a week on child-related activities. This adds up to an
additional 754 hours of work every year--the equivalent of three months of 12-hour, 5-day
Signs of the Times, May, 1992, p. 6.
'Twas a sheep, not a lamb, that strayed away in the parable Jesus told.
A grown-up sheep that had gone astray from the ninety and nine in the fold.
Out on the hillside, out in the cold, 'twas a sheep the Good
And back to the flock, safe into the fold, 'twas a sheep the Good Shepherd brought.
And why for the sheep should we earnestly long and as earnestly
hope and pray?
Because there is danger, if they go wrong, they will lead the
For the lambs will follow the sheep, you know, wherever the sheep may stray;
When the sheep go wrong, it will not be long till the lambs are
as wrong as they.
And so with the sheep we earnestly plead, for the sake of the
If the sheep are lost, what terrible cost some of the lambs will
have to pay!
Writing for the New York Times Magazine, Mauren Dowd and Thomas L. Friedman describe a conversation that once took place between Secretary of State
James Baker and President George Bush. With Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak due to arrive
for a state visit, Baker hurried into the Oval Office to brief President Bush, telling him
what the sore spots were, what favors would be asked, and what aid would be sought.
"Mubarak is going to ask for money," Baker warned Bush before the Egyptian
leader entered. "You're going to have to say no."
"You tell him he can't have any money," the president replied. "Turning down money is dirty
work. That's your job, Jimmy. I want to do the good stuff."
Today in the Word, Moody Bible Institute, Jan, 1992, p.21.
In his men's seminar, David Simmons, a former cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys, tells about his childhood home. His father, a
military man, was extremely demanding, rarely saying a kind word, always pushing him with harsh criticism to do better. The father
had decided that he would never permit his son to feel any satisfaction from his accomplishments, reminding him there were
always new goals ahead. When Dave was a little boy, his dad gave him a bicycle,
unassembled, with the command that he put it together. After Dave struggled to the point of tears with the
difficult instructions and many parts, his father said, "I knew you couldn't do it." Then he assembled it for him.
When Dave played football in high school, his father was unrelenting in his criticisms. In the backyard of his home, after every game, his
dad would go over every play and point out Dave's errors. "Most boys got
butterflies in the stomach before the game; I got them afterwards. Facing my father was
more stressful than facing any opposing team." By the time he entered college, Dave
hated his father and his harsh discipline. He chose to play football at the University of
Georgia because its campus was further from home than any school that offered him a
scholarship. After college, he became the second round draft pick of the St. Louis
cardinal's professional football club. Joe Namath (who later signed with the New York
Jets), was the club's first round pick that year. "Excited, "I telephoned my
father to tell him the good news. He said, 'How does it feel to be second?'"
the hateful feelings he had for his father, Dave began to build a bridge to his dad.
Christ had come into his life during college years, and it was God's love that made him
turn to his father. During visits home he stimulated conversation with him and listened
with interest to what his father had to say. He learned for the first time what his
grandfather had been like--a tough lumberjack known for his quick temper. Once he
destroyed a pickup truck with a sledgehammer because it wouldn't start, and he often beat
his son. This new awareness affected Dave dramatically. "Knowing about my father's
upbringing not only made me more sympathetic for him, but it helped me see that, under the
circumstances, he might have done much worse. By the time he died, I can honestly say we
Charles Sell, Unfinished Business, Multnomah, 1989, p.
Even when families remain intact, moral instruction is not automatic. A public school survey in Maryland showed that
parents spent an average of 15 minutes a week in "meaningful dialogue" with their children--children who are left to glean
whatever values they can from peers and TV.
Senator Dan Coates, Imprimis, Vol. 20, #9,
I learned the idea of Quality Time was an evil lie. Some experts pushed the idea that successful overachievers, those we call
Yuppies today, could have children and be guilt-free about the little time they were able to devote to them. The remedy was
Quality Time. Sort of like one-minute parenting. It went like this: Be sure to make what little time you are able to spend with your child
Time. What garbage. I've seen the results of kids who were given only Quality Time. The
problem is that kids don't know the difference. What they need is time--all they can get.
Quantity time is quality time, whether you're discussing the meaning of the cosmos or just
climbing on dad.
Jerry Jenkins, Hedges, Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1989, p. 125.
In an article in Moody Monthly, Craig Massey told about being in a restaurant when he heard an angry father say to his 7 year old son, "What good
are you?" The boy, who had just spilled his milk, put his head down and said, "Nothing." Years later, Massey
said he was disgusted with his own son for a minor infraction. He heard himself ask what he called "the cruelest question a
father can ask." He said, "What are you good for anyway?" His son replied, "Nothing."
Immediately he regretted the question. As he thought about this, he realized that the question was all
right but the answer was wrong. A few days later when his son committed another minor offense, he asked, "What are you good
for?" But before his son could reply, he hugged him and kissed him and said, "I'll tell you what you're good for. You're good
for loving!" Before long, whenever he asked the question, his son would say, "I'm good for loving."
John Barrymore once played the role of a father who disapproved of the man his daughter planned to marry. In one scene, the
daughter had to ask Barrymore what he thought of her fiancé, who had just exited.
Barrymore was supposed to answer, "I think he's a dirty dog." One night, when
the bridegroom-to-be walked off stage, he accidentally tipped over a pitcher of water.
Barrymore watched in fascination as a puddle formed. A moment later, his daughter asked,
"What do you think of Tom, father?" "I think he's a dirty dog,"
Barrymore answered. Then he ad-libbed, "And what's more, he isn't even
Bits and Pieces, December 13, 1990.
How to Train Your Child to be a Delinquent
1. When your kid is still an infant, give him everything he wants. This way he'll think the world owes him a living
when he grows up.
2. When he picks up swearing and off-color jokes, laugh at him, encourage him. As he grows up,
he will pick up "cuter" phrases that will floor you.
3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is twenty-one and let him decide for himself.
4. Avoid using the word "wrong." It will give your child a guilt complex. You can condition him to believe later, when
he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him and he is being persecuted.
5. Pick up after him--his books, shoes, and clothes. Do everything for him so he will be experienced in throwing all
responsibility onto others.
6. Let him read all printed matter he can get his hands on...[never think of monitoring his TV programs]. Sterilize
the silverware, but let him feast his mind on garbage.
7. Quarrel frequently in his presence. Then he won't be too surprised when his home is broken up later.
8. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink, and comfort. Every sensual desire must be gratified; denial may lead to
9. Give your child all the spending money he wants. Don't make him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you did?
10. Take his side against neighbors, teachers, and policemen. They're all against him.
11. When he gets into real trouble, make up excuses for yourself by saying, "I
never could do anything with him; he's just a bad seed."
12. Prepare for a life of grief.
Swindoll, The Quest For Character, Multnomah, p. 105-6.
The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along
A father of three won a shouting contest with a roar louder than a passing train.
"If you want a war, you go!" Yoshihiko Kato shouted. The sound meter registered
115.8 decibels, louder than the racket of a train passing overhead on an elevated
railroad. For that winning shout, Kato won the $750 grand prize of the 10th annual Halls
Year-End Loud Voice Contest. Kato admitted that he probably built up his loud voice
shouting at his children.
Resource, Jan/Feb 1991.
Thank you for this child that I call mine; not my possession but my sacred charge. Teach me patience and humility so that the
best I know may flow in its being. Let me always remember, parental love is my natural instinct but my child's love must
ever be deserved and earned; That for love I must give love, That for understanding I
must give understanding, That for respect, I must give respect; That as I was the giver of
life, so must I be the giver always. Help me to share my child with life and not
at it for my own sake. Give courage to do my share to make this world a better place for
all children and my own.
In a 6-year survey at a West Coast university, it was found that self-confident,
successful people had three things in common: They were loved and valued at home; their
homes were democratic; their parents were not permissive.
Homemade, July, 1990.
Best recipe for high-achieving and confident children: strong direction and support--not freedom. The latest study found that children who grow up
with high control and high support are more confident and better achievers than those
raised with high support and low control, or low support and high control, or low
support and low control.
Dr. Diane Baumrind, in Homemade, May, 1990.
An author for Reader's Digest writes how he studied the Amish people in preparation for an article on them. In his observation
at the school yard, he noted that the children never screamed or yelled. This amazed
him. He spoke to the schoolmaster. He remarked how he had not once heard an Amish child yell, and asked why the schoolmaster
thought that was so. The schoolmaster replied, "Well, have you ever heard an Amish
How to bake a cake:
Preheat oven; get out utensils and ingredients.
Remove blocks and toy autos from table.
Grease pan, crack nuts.
Measure two cups of flour, remove baby's hands from flour, wash
flour off baby, re-measure flour.
Put flour, baking power, and salt in sifter.
Get dustpan and brush up pieces of bowl baby knocked on the
floor. Get another bowl
Return to kitchen, remove baby's hands from bowl. Wash baby.
Remove one-fourth inch salt from greased pan. Look for baby.
Grease another pan.
Return to kitchen and find baby. Remove his hands from bowl.
Take up greased pan and find layer of nutshells in it. Head for
baby, who flees, knocking bowl off table.
Wash kitchen floor, table, walls, dishes.
Call baker. Lie down.
Socrates once wrote: "Could I climb to the highest places in Athens, I would lift up my voice and proclaim; Fellow citizens,
why do you turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth, and take so little care of the
children to whom you must someday relinquish it all?"
A born loser is the father whose child appears last in a three hour piano recital.
Your home is the number one influence in the life of your child. The average church has a child 1% of his time, the home has him
83% of his time and the school for the remaining 16%. This does not minimize the need for churches and schools, but it
establishes the fact your home is 83% of your child's world and you have only one time around to make it of maximum benefit.
Catch the child being good. Tell the child what behaviors please you. Respond to positive efforts and reinforce good behavior.
An observing and sensitive parent will find countless opportunities during the day to make such comments as, "I like
the way you come in for dinner without being reminded; I appreciate your hanging up your clothes even though you were in a hurry to get out to
I was two or three years old, sitting on the floor of my bedroom trying to get a shirt
over my head and around my shoulders, and having an extraordinarily difficult time. I was
grunting and sweating, and my mother just stood there and watched. Obviously, I now
realize that her arms must have been rigidly at her side; every instinct in her had wanted
to reach out and do it for me.
Finally, a friend turned to her and said in exasperation, "Ida, why don't you help that child?" My mother responded through
gritted teeth, "I AM helping him."
In a survey parents were asked to record how many negative--as opposed to positive--comments they made to their children.
Results: they criticized 10 times for every favorable comment.
Another survey revealed teachers were 75% negative. It takes four positive statements from a teacher to offset the effects of one negative statement
to a child.
American Institute of Family Relations, Homemade, August, 1990.
Two Harvard researchers, Dr. George Vaillant and Caroline Vaillant, report that success in adulthood is more related to a
child's capacity to work than to his intelligence, social status or family background. Their study involved 456 men, mostly from
Boston working class immigrant families, interviewed periodically from their adolescence up through age 47. The Vaillants
discovered that those who worked hardest as children developed into the best-paid and most satisfied family men. Their work as
youngsters had usually consisted of household chores, part-time jobs, sports and studies. The least hardworking as youths later
encountered more unemployment and unhappiness as well as a higher death rate.
Parade, in Homemade, April, 1988.
Training children to obey: In Genesis 2:16 God first outlines the perimeters within which there is freedom. Then he specifies
the restriction. Finally he states the consequence of disobedience.
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with pity, he learns to feel sorry for himself.
If a child lives with jealousy, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learn to be self-
If a child lives with tolerance, he learn to be patient.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to be appreciative.
If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with recognition, he learns to have a goal.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns what justice is.
If a child lives with honesty, he learns what truth is.
If a child lives with sincerity, he learns to have faith in
himself and those around him.
If a child lives with love, he learns that the world is a
wonderful place to live in.
The loving mother teaches her child to walk alone. She is far enough from him so that she cannot actually support him. She
holds out her arms. Her face beckons like a reward, an encouragement. The child constantly strives toward a refuge in
her embrace, little suspecting that in the very same moment he is emphasizing his need
for her, he is proving that he can do without her.
There are two things in life we are never fully prepared for; twins.
I took a piece of plastic clay
And idly fashioned it one day,
And as my fingers pressed it still,
It moved and yielded to my will.
I came again when days were past--
The bit of clay was hard at last;
The form I gave it, it still bore,
But I could change that form no more.
I took a piece of living clay
And gently formed it day by day,
And molded with my power and art
A young child's soft and
I came again when years were gone--
It was a man I looked upon;
He still that early impress wore,
And I could change him nevermore.
Economist Lawrence Olson cited some shocking figures about how expensive it is to raise children. He estimated that the
average cost, taking into account low-income and high-income families, to feed, clothe and educate a firstborn son is
$226,000. And if that baby happens to be a girl, the expense would be $247,000! Reflecting on those figures, Steven Cole
commented, "If you had $200,000 to invest, wouldn't you do some careful research in advance, and then watch that investment very carefully over the
years? How much time, study, thought and watchfulness do you exercise over those precious
lives in which you invest $200,000?"
Daily Bread, quoted in Homemade, Vol. 11, No. 4,
Novelist Pearl Buck told her 16-year old daughter that she wouldn't allow her to attend a party of mixed teenagers where
there would be no adult supervision. The girl wailed, "You don't trust me!" Mrs. Buck's reply was, "Of course, I don't trust you.
I couldn't trust myself at 16, 17, 18, or as much farther as you care to go! When you face the fact that you don't trust yourself in a situation, the
only wisdom is to be careful not to put yourself into that situation."
Schoolteachers were asked in 1940 to describe the top seven disciplinary problems they faced in the classroom. The problems:
running in the halls
wearing improper clothing
not putting waste paper in the waste paper basket.
In the 1980s, educators were asked the same question by college researchers. Here are the top seven disciplinary problems that
modern-day teachers must put up with:
Focus on the Family, March, 1987.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University reported that 30 years ago, the greatest fears of grade school children were: 1)
Animals, 2) Being in a dark room, 3) High places, 4) Strangers, 5) Loud noises.
Today, kids are afraid of the following: 1) Divorce, 2) Nuclear war, 3) Cancer, 4) Pollution, 5) Being
Back to the Bible Today, Summer, 1990, p. 5.
A parent's responsibility is not to his child's happiness; it's to his character.
My father would not have been particularly interested in a book about fathering, although he did like to read.
One day when he was reading in the living room, my brother and I decided that we
could play basketball without breaking anything. When I took a shot that redesigned the glass table, my mother came in with a
stick and said, "So help me, I'll bust you in half." Without lifting his head from his book, my father said, "Why would you
want twice as many?"
Bill Cosby, Fatherhood, Doubleday.
Parents rarely know what's going on with their kids. Some 36% of parents surveyed said
they thought their child had taken a drink, while 66% of students admitted they had...14%
of parents thought their child had tried cigarettes, while 41% of students reported they
had...5% of parents thought their child had used drugs, while 17% of students actually
Louis Harris Survey, Homemade, March, 1990.
Often parents say "no" only because it simplifies matters. I've made a practice of saying "yes" when the consequences are not
far-reaching. Then the important "no's" are considerably easier for teens to accept. Think about why "no" is best, and back up
your decision with a logical reason.
Generational tension is not a phenomenon which erupted in the 60's and 70's of our century. It is as old as the trouble Adam
and Eve had with their two boys. Parents need to remember that. For example, when did this conversation occur? An angry father
asks his teenage son, "Where did you go?" The boy, trying to sneak home late at night, answers, "Nowhere." "Grow up," the
father chides him. "Stop hanging around the public squares, and wandering up and down the street. Go to school. Night and day
you torture me. Night and day you waste your time having fun."
Was that sharp rebuke administered last night by an irate dad to a defiant juvenile?
No, it comes from Sumerian clay tablets 4000 years old.
Dr. Vernon Grounds in Homemade,
90% would still have children if they "had it to do over again.
Psychology Today, quoted in Homemade, Feb, 1985.
A recent survey by America's most popular teen magazine revealed that only 4.1% of the
teenage girls in America feel they could to go their father to talk about a serious
problem. Even more recently, USA Today published the eye-opening results of a study of
teens under stress. When asked where they turn to for help in a crisis, the most popular
choice was music, the second choice was peers, and the third was TV. Amazing as it may
sound, moms were down the list at number thirty-one, and dads were forty-eighth.
in Homemade, Nov 1989.
The average young teenage American girl views 1500 references to sexual acts on TV
annually, according to a study at Michigan State University. Boys of that age view an average of nearly
1300 such and attend 17 R-rated movies annually. According to the teens studied, parents "never" or "not often" limited their
TV viewing. There's little indication that parents exercise any control, positive or negative, over TV viewing.
Homemade, March, 1989.