Obedience and appreciation
Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 8:01 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt
In honor of Mother’s Day, this week’s guest column is written by my wonderful mom. There are a lot of impressive things I could tell you about her. She’s 75 years old and still provides free tutoring, teaches English at night, writes, works out several times a week, proofreads for several writers, cooks meals and has lots of company. The best thing? She’s still in love with my wonderful dad.
By Regina Golden
At Christmas, my sister and I each received a doll — a pretty baby doll in a blanket. We were happy.
My cousin who lived nearby also got a pretty doll, but her doll said, “Mama” and opened her eyes when she was turned over. Among my cousin’s other gifts were a doll buggy and a watch — a real watch that showed the accurate time of day. One year she even received a bicycle.
There were other differences in our two families. When we (in our family) got up in the morning, we had to make our bed and not get back in that bed until nighttime. My cousin didn’t make her bed. Sometimes her mother or her grandmother made her bed. She could make a playhouse or a fort in her bed anytime she wanted. She could even jump on her bed like a trampoline.
My dad didn’t approve of his sister’s parenting skills. Even though he never mentioned it again, I remember one day hearing him say, “Those kids are going to have a hard time in this world because they’re going to be spoiled brats.”
Now because this was more than 60 years ago, I can tell you whether my dad’s prediction came true. I can give you the results of this experiment.
All of us cousins are grown up now. Guess what? We all are just average citizens. We all are grandparents who have worked hard and raised good families. If you interviewed us or looked at our resumes, you wouldn’t be able to tell a bit of difference.
The reason: We all obeyed. My aunt and uncle let them jump on the bed but they didn’t tell them not to jump on the bed. The children in that family did what they were told just as we did. There was a difference in the rules but both families taught their children to obey.
They had more toys than we did, but that didn’t make a difference. Both families taught their children to appreciate and take care of their possessions. It wasn’t important what we had or didn’t have. It was very important that we were all taught to appreciate and be thankful for material blessings.
I conclude that God doesn’t care if you let your kids eat Pop-tarts™ on your new white sofa. You do that if you want to but IF you tell your child NOT to eat Pop-tarts on the sofa then be sure to enforce that rule.
If our children learn to obey us, then it will be easier for them to obey their teachers and to obey the laws of the land. So whether you choose to be strict or lenient, it probably doesn’t matter so much. Just be careful. If you say it’s a rule, be ready to enforce it.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.11.11
Lisa Smartt, The Smartt View