Something to think about from 1977

Published 12:01 am Friday, February 3, 2017

The following Top of the Morning is reprinted from 1977 at the request of Kitty Simpson, daughter of Nelene Steed.
In just a few short months, our youngest will graduate from high school, and this quite naturally brings on a weird assortment of emotions. After 20 years of calling, begging, threatening, shaking and using any measure short of dynamite to get four children out of bed and off to school, I’ll have to honestly admit that I’m looking forward to sleeping late now and then.

In those good ole days, I would go through the ordeal of getting them up and off to school on weekdays, but on Saturdays I would be awakened at 6 a.m. by a shrill noise, only to get up and find four little heads watching the test pattern on TV waiting for the Saturday cartoons to come on.

But those were days I wouldn’t trade for any king’s ransom. I do think sometimes about  how I would like to go back and do some things differently, maybe do some things I failed to do, or undo some things I did. But I suppose if we somehow profit from our mistakes, then our efforts are not entirely in vain.

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I don’t know of anybody who has all the answers, and I don’t profess to have the answers myself, but I do believe the three ingredients necessary in a happy home are God, love and discipline. Without love, what is a family but strangers sharing the same house? Without discipline, what are children but juvenile delinquents?

I would like to share a few thoughts with young parents:

-Read the Bible to your children often. Teach them that this is God’s way of talking to us, and if He isn’t allowed to talk to us, how can we get to know Him? Teach them the importance of prayer, that this is our way of talking to God. A child who grows up without having known the love and grave of God is deprived of the greatest and most precious treasure of all. Parents who have tried giving their children every material gift that money can buy in an effort to “make them happy” have missed the boat completely. Money and material gifts can never replace a parent’s physical touch, time, and devotion, all tied in with a mutual love of God.

-Don’t fret precious time on making beds and waxing floors when you can share a beautiful sunset, a walk through the autumn leaves, the simple beauty of a butterfly or some other of God’s wonderful creation with your little ones. Not that a clean house is not important, but housework you have always. Your little children are little for such a short time! Besides, they will cherish the memory of a few intimate moments shared with you much more than they will a memory of you fussing around the house. Dirty dishes will never frustrate a child, but to be ignored by a mother too busy to talk to him will.

– Don’t be afraid of discipline! You would never get a child to admit it, but they want to be disciplined and they will respect you for it. But, discipline without love is of very little value. Every punishment, for whatever reason, should be administered in such a way that the child will know it is in love and not just a way for Mama and Daddy to get revenge.

Punishment must be upheld by parents if such is necessary at school or in civil matters. Parents who interfere with school or law authorities at such times do the child, as well as themselves, a severe injustice. One of the major causes of parental indigestion is having to eat the ever popular words, “MY child would NEVER do such a thing”!

-Set good examples before your little ones. It has been said that “as the family goes, so goes the nation.” Another one that is used so often is “the youth of today are our leaders of tomorrow.” Well, if so, why can’t we as parents give them the love and discipline they need and then set the right example for them to follow? When they hear you talk to others what kind of language do they learn? What kind of books do they see you read? What do they learn from watching TV? And movies?

It distresses me to see the entertainment business set such bad examples for not only young people but adults as well. Heroes are depicted as dirty-talking, sexually-liberated and the anything-goes type with a drink in their hands. When all these things are against the teachings of God, how can they be heroes? There’s not a phrase in the English language or any other language, for that matter, that can’t be said without using a curse word. Try it and you can say anything you have to say without “cussing.”

The police chief and officials in Vidalia are to be commended for their efforts in cracking down on obscenity and liquor laws in their city. This is a serious matter and one that our Natchez officials would do well to consider. How many youngsters are hanging out in bars or roaming the streets? (Or how many parents are hanging out in bars or roaming the streets?)

Either way, they should be at home together. If only parents could see the danger in this! I realize that so many times parents don’t know where their children are, but it is up to parents to teach them the harm that comes from such entertainment. If they never take that first drink then they don’t have to worry about the one that turns them into an alcoholic.

A final thought: if every family would read together every night for two weeks, the 13th chapter of First Corinthians, and Philippians 4:8, then put them into practice, how many lives would be affected, and how much happiness could be generated! Think on these things.
Nelene Steed is a Natchez resident.