The Discipline Controversy

Discipline is a symbol of caring to a child. Discipline is guidance. If there is love, there is no such thing as being too tough with a child.-Bette Davis

You may or may not have seen the video that has since gone viral on YouTube of the father who reads a letter that his daughter had placed on Facebook to him and her mother writhe with disrespect and profanity.  She had really no intention of having her parents read the letter, but having placed it on Facebook for all of her friends to see, come on, we all know that sooner or latter it will get around.  After reading her letter on the video, a form of discipline that he chose was to shoot a round of bullets into her computer and letting her know that she will have to get her own computer and pay a dollar for every bullet he had shot. (see YouTube video)

Needless to say, this has caused a great deal of controversy and went on to occupy a spot on HLN, not to mention a visit by the Child Protection Agency, and the police.  When asked what he might have done differently on his public disciplinary act he simply stated that he would have most likely not have been holding a cigarette and may have dressed better!  Interestingly enough the number of “likes”  of his disciplinary action way out number the “dislikes”.

I wanted to weigh in here from my perspective having raised 6 children of my own, I am a believer in discipline as long as, as Bette Davis is quoted as saying, “if there is love”.  In today’s society, mom and dad are for the most part pretty tied up at work to be able to stay a float as a family.  Some struggle to make ends meet, but then there are also those who are out to be “well off” and place an emphasis on having material goods and the way that they show their “love” is by buying a lot of “things” for their children.  While I believe it is nice to provide children with, not only their needs but some of their wants as well, I believe that this can never be replaced with the time that you spend with your child.

I have, and have always had, a wonderful rapport with all of my children.  We made it a point to spend days out together, do fun and exciting things together, even if it were simply a day at a park without having to shell out a wad of money, but the point was to be together.  Having been blessed with a good line of communication, when it came time (And it ALWAYS does!) to have to discipline them for something that they may have said or done that needed to be addressed, for the most part it was received with respect. (Not always immediately).  The point here being, IF you love your child, and reassure this through genuine actions of being there when it counts, your discipline will bring about positive fruit.  If not, you can expect further rebellion.

Now, all this said, I don’t know the gentlemen in this video personally.  I can’t say that he has had a great rapport with his daughter.  I am not sure if this will bring about the fruit that he is hoping, but I do believe that, despite the way his discipline was delivered, he needed to step in to discipline her and that is why he has received more “likes” than “dislikes”.  Unfortunately, we have lost a good balance to discipline, much thanks to those who have abused the practice by being too harsh and even cruel towards their children.  But as is the case in practically everything in life, a proper balance will most likely bring about the desired results.

What are your thoughts?






Kids Can Say Some Of the Funniest Things!

Today I wanted to do something fun and share some stories of things that my kids had said when they were small. My hope is that those of you who might enjoy these stories will possibly have some of your own that you wouldn’t mind sharing.  So please make sure to take the time to share yours below!

At times it makes you wonder what might be going on in their cute little heads when they come up with certain things!  I’ll start with a story of my eldest daughter when she was just 6 years old.

We were driving across Texas on the way back home and it was getting pretty late at night and I was really needing a little help staying awake!  So I decided at a certain point to stop into a gas station to buy a Dr. Pepper from a vending machine.  Once back in the car and I got back on the road after a short while, I heard Sonia in the back seat whimpering and sniffing as she was obviously distraught about something.  Mom kept probing with the intent to find out what was wrong when finally she shared what it was that she was worried about.  In tears she burst out to tell us, “the TV says that you are not supposed to drink and drive, the police are going stop us and to put daddy in jail!”  Bless her heart!

My son Michael had just been talking with his mom who was trying to help him understand the sad plight of homeless people.  She had expressed how we need to be considerate of those who do not have a bed to sleep in and had to stay out on the street with only a newspaper to cover up with in order to stay warm.  Naturally she was trying to help him see that we should be thankful for how blessed we are to have somewhere to live.  A few days later while tucking him into bed before his evening prayers mom shares with him that the next day was our day off and so she suggested that he pray to ask the Lord to help us all to sleep in (as in not waking up too early).  On our day off our children seemed to want to get up extra early!  So, he was asked to say his little prayers for the night and he prays: “dear Lord, please help us to sleep in and not to sleep out” He was still left very impressed with the homeless people and was sure that he did not want to have to sleep out!

On another journey by car, we had been traveling for some time and our car had gotten pretty low on gas.  I commented how it might be a good idea to stop to fill up our tank.  Our son, Jesse who was about 4 years old at the time popped his head up just in time to notice that I had passed by a gas station which was on the other side of the road and so he wanted be a help and let me know, so he piped up and said “dad you passed gas!” Of course we all roared with laughter which he could not clearly understand why!  Well, since it made a hit that time, from that day on he attempted to say it again in the days that followed, but sadly the joke by then had grown old.

There are probably dozens more to share, I just don’t have them all so clear at this time, but I would be happy to hear yours!  Kids are so much fun, and they create memories that last a lifetime! I hope you enjoyed mine I look forward to reading yours!

Tough Love–Discipline

The other day I wrote about the importance of appreciation and how it can tend to bring out the best in others!  We thrive on positive input, and by emphasizing the positive it can help in a great way to encourage a  positive reaction.  Today I want to share a little about the other side of the coin and that is, what do you do when you need to deal out some correction or discipline?  I am a true believer in the importance of discipline, as if you do not take the time to discipline a child, or a subordinate when they may have made a big mistake, you will be robbing them of an important lesson that could save them more trouble on down the line.

As a parent it is our God-given duty to “train up our children in the way they should go”, and it can be difficult to live up to, but oh so necessary.  With the fast pace lives that we now live, both mom and dad often are busy working and so kids are often given into the care of others.  By the time you get back home, or have time to spend with your child you usually prefer that this time together be positive, and so having to deal with a not-so-positive behavior or situation is not really your choice activity,  so we can tend to let the discipline slide. For one, your tired and two, you just want some positive time with your child.

We as humans since birth, don’t usually invite correction with open arms.  It is difficult to receive and we have learned since childhood to make those having to give us the necessary discipline feel as though they are being an ogre and that they obviously don’t care for or love us. My kids used to equate discipline to a lack of love towards them.  They used to say, “you don’t love me” which made having to continue my job all the more difficult, but I told them that this IS love, but that it was “tough love”.  I would go on to explain to them,  “God loves us all unconditionally as I do you, but although His love is a gift and it never goes away by His grace, on the other hand in order to receive His blessings we have to obey, and that is why that in order for me to reward you, you need to follow my instructions”.

As in all things in life, there is an important balance, you don’t want to create a world around you where everything becomes, no, don’t, you can’t etc..  On the other hand you don’t want to just let everything slide to be “Mr. or Mrs. nice guy” to where there are no boundaries.  We all need to have boundaries in order to accommodate the other six or so billion people in the world, but we also do not want to place our children or others in a box limiting them from learning lessons on their own and progressing into well-adjusted adults.

There are laws that have been put in place concerning discipline to assure that it is not administered too heavily which has been good.  Discipline is something that should never be done in haste or when emotionally charged.  You have the authority as a parent or an overseer, so there is really no need to get all emotionally excited when administering discipline.  I once read a good illustration of this point which used a police officer as an example.  When an officer stops you for running a red light or for speeding he does not run up to your car waving his arms in the air and start screaming at you all emotionally telling you what a terrible thing you did.  He usually walks slowly up to your car, politely greets you, (you are already pretty much shaking in your boots because of the ticket you are about to be issued), he then goes on to explain calmly and mater-of-factually why he is now going to have to issue you a fine for breaking the rules. This is how we should be with those we discipline as well, without emotion and without becoming unnecessarily mean.

At the end of the day, the goal is to help others to grow better, and possibly even avoid future accidents or unpleasantness.  Those you may have to correct today will thank you tomorrow for having been there for them in their time of need!  And you, contrary to how you may feel at the moment, will be even more loved and respected in the future than you would be if you just let things go too easily.

Do you find it hard to administer “tough love?  Have you been thankful now for the times there was someone who cared enough to discipline you in the right way?  Share your thoughts!

Why Do We Have To Grow Up?

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.– Aldous Huxley

As I was growing up we didn’t have so many of the cool things that are available to kids now a days.  When my own kids were smaller I used to think back at the time I was growing up, just to have a ball, a game-board, a bicycle was about as cool as it got.  We relied on our imagination to invent excitement, and it worked really well.  That is what I think is cool about kids, they can get excited about some of the most simple things.

Life starts out pretty simple but as the years go by, we do such a good job complicating things.  Most kids are full of imagination, you can give them a basket full of clothes pins and they can make it into an alien spaceship docking station! A ball can keep their attention for hours on end, a bicycle can endure a lifetime for some.

As we grow up and mature, we begin to see everything from a totally different perspective.  It is all natural and of course necessary, but it is a bit sad that while we are growing up, we tend to lose one of the most important things in life, our enthusiasm and simplicity.  I mean, little things that before seemed all-important to us get crowded out and we focus more on the difficulties, complexities of life.

The older we get, the more difficult it is to be pleased.  We no longer stop to watch the sunset, be amazed at the beauty of a flower, watch the night sky and follow a shooting star!  But when we finally stop our fretful running and begin to take notice once again of these miracles of nature, our childlike curiosity, and enthusiasm comes back to us and we return to our creative nature.

Kids just have that natural inborn faith and inventive mind, unfortunately in the great majority of us, that gift of faith and believing in the unseen, gets over-shadowed by our skepticism and doubt and over all fears. True genius is born from having faith and enthusiasm to invent what others cannot see. Ignorance seeps in when we no longer think that it is possible to see beyond our circumstances.

It is amazing, but just think about it, in the first 5 years of our lives we learn to use our hands, walk, run,speak as many languages as we are exposed to,  comprehend and the list is endless, we had no limitations, we simply absorbed all and took everything in.  Then as time goes on, we grow up, and begin to shut many things out, and in some cases our God-given creativity!

In some aspects, I hope that I never grow up! I am still figuring out what I am going to be when I do! But, am I off my rocker?  What do you think?

The Stranger

A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family.

The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later. As I grew up I never questioned his place in our family. Mom taught me to love the Word of God. Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were daily conversations.

He could hold our whole family spellbound for hours each evening. He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bill and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars.

The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn’t seem to mind, but sometimes Mom would quietly get up – while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places – and go to her room read her Bible and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave. You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions.

But this stranger never felt an obligation to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house – not from us, from our friends, or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four-letter words that burned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge the stranger was never confronted. My dad was a teetotaler who didn’t permit alcohol in his home – not even for cooking. But the stranger felt he needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life.

He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often. He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (too much too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that my early concepts of the man/woman relationship were influenced by the stranger.

As I look back, I believe it was the grace of God that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time he opposed the values of my parents. Yet he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave. More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Morningside Drive.

But if I were to walk into my parents’ den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name?      We always called him TV.

-Author Unknown

Parenting Can Be Fun!

Having fathered 6 kids (now pretty much all grown) I have heard all the typical comments, “were you too poor to afford a TV?”, “no other sport interests you?”, “ever try taking up playing cards?”.  These days it is difficult to find too many large families in the western culture and many tend to think of children as being a burden rather than a blessing.  I have a totally different perspective in that, for me, I would think a long-term relationship with my wife would have been empty and boring without children.

With a family comes great responsibility and it is hard work, but it doesn’t have to be a chore, it can be fun.  And the more fun that you bring into any relationship, the longer it tends to last.

Family Outing on the East Coast of Taiwan

It is my personal belief that having children can be the most rewarding experience one could ever have.  I can’t imagine having gone through my married life without kids, for one, they complete your relationship and two, they give you the opportunity to make a real difference in another human being more so than in any other way.

The most important thing that you can give your kids, is not the latest gizmo, the coolest video game or toy, the very most important thing you can give them is your time!  There are so many distractions in the world that keep us from doing that which is our most important task, and that is to spend time with those we care about.

As a family we had what we called “Family Day”, on family day it was time to spend time doing something together.  Naturally having such a large family it becomes ever so tricky as to what to do with all your kids.  Eventually we had to dedicate special time, perhaps towards the evening to cater to the needs of each child.  On family day we would ask the kids what they wanted to do that day, if it were to go on an excursion, stay at home,. play some games or sports, watch a movie together, whatever it was, it was their day and they chose.  Although we live in a digital world, and we now can be reached with our cell phones at any time of the day or night or day of the week, the one feature that I find most valuable with the cell phone is…it has an “off” button.  This time is sacred, and should not be interfered with by anything unless of course there were to be a genuine emergency.

While growing up there was a special something that up to today I have never forgotten about my dad, it was that on Saturday morning he would always prepare pancakes!  So it became a tradition in my family whilst my gang was growing up.  And they like myself, still talk about this today.  Having traveled and lived in many countries of the world we changed houses and even countries pretty regularly.  Some Psychologist today warn that too many changes in a child’s geographical location may cause psychological problems.  Believe me, geography plays little if any role at all, it is the security that you provide or fail to provide that makes the difference.

Eldest Sonia with youngest Alisa

Of course, when a child arrives at puberty and adolescence, they have a God-given desire for independence and they tend to drift away from mom and dad. This is a very natural phase, yet as a parent it can be tough as your “little darling” who at one time never wanted to be too far from you, all of a sudden seems to not be able to stand being around you, what can I say, it ain’t easy!  But just be ready and hold on for this bumpy ride, as it will come to pass, not to stay, and once it does, and they get to that point that they have matured to understand things that previously seemed so “dumb”, and they will come back to ask you for your advice.  Mark Twain had a few things to say about fathers and here is another quote from him which depicts what I am saying. “By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.”

So parenting can be fun and this is entirely up to you, make it fun, make it memorable, you will be so thankful you did.  Too many kids in the world are lost in the world and become a problem to society, and a shame to their parents, not because they were born that way, but because they never had the attention that they needed and deserved.  It is a responsibility, so make the best of it and have fun whilst doing it!  Happy parenting!