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ADVENTURES IN PARENTING

 

Paul Schneidmill

 

For the past two years, there’s been at least one occasion (per school year) that a teacher has called to inform me about some “uncharacteristic behavior” from my daughter, the “Amazing Angela.”  It appears that my little 10-year-old “”sweetie” and 5th grader, periodically has some anger issues.

 

“Angela repeatedly rolled her eyes at me and was indignant with me and her class members for most of the day” her teacher said.  “I gave her several opportunities to correct her behavior, but she wouldn’t.  I told her that I was going to give you a call about it.”

 

When I heard that last part, I knew Angela would not be looking forward to addressing this matter with me…especially if it would result in her receiving a spanking.  My children know that their Dad gives the best spankings in town!   

 

I asked God how I should deal with this incident and He gave me His direction and instruction. 

 

On the drive home from work, I called Angela, told her to feed the dog and get him ready to go for a walk.  I told her that her teacher had called to tell me about her behavior, so she, Zack, and I would go to the track (at a recreation area in our community) and talk about what happened (Zack wouldn’t be involved in the conversation).

 

On the track, she told me what precipitated her bad behavior: The teacher told the class it was time for “homework check.”  Angela had not been paying attention and did not get her homework out to participate.  When she realized her mistake, some classmates laughed at her (“This made me angry” she said).  Because she’d not been paying attention, her “job” as the student “homework checker” was taken away from her and given to another student (“This made me more angry.” – anyone who has ever “lost” a job may be able to identify here).  “After that,” she continued “I refused to open my book when we were supposed to and got in trouble.”

 

Though I wasn’t certain I’d gotten the entire story, here was where I implemented the fullness of God’s directive. 

 

“Angela,” I said “I’m going to give you two choices to pick from to correct this situation.  One – you can take some punishment, which I will not tell you what it will be ahead of time, or, Two – you can write a letter of apology and ask the teacher if you can read it to the whole class.”

 

Without virtually any consideration of her two options, she quickly replied, “I’ll take the punishment.”

 

“Okay,” I said “When we get home, give me all your Neo-pets so I can throw them away.”  Tears welled up in her eyes quicker than I could imagine.  Angela loves her Neo-pets (an unusual-looking stuffed “animal” collection), but she also knows the moving power of tears; and that Dad’s can invariably be vulnerable to them.

 

Anticipating that this would happen, I protected myself afore-hand by activating my protective anti-tear force field, and countered her advance by asking her this: “Would you like to reconsider your choice?”

 

“I’ll write the letter” she said between sobs (the anti-tear force field also has a sob-ignoring device).

 

“You see, Angela, I could’ve just went with your first choice, but I gave you second chance.  That’s what God does for us.  Remember last year when you had a similar incident?”  What happened when you apologized to your class?”

 

“They all clapped” she replied.

 

“So you’ll probably get double applause this time.”

 

That night we drafted the letter.  The following day, her teacher allowed her to read it to the class.  Angela reported that the teacher gave her two hugs (“one was reeaally long”) and the class applauded and forgave her.   

 

Well, my friends, that’s just one of my “Adventures in Parenting.”  I credit its success to the wisdom of God.  After all, He is a Parent too, and He does give us, His children by creation and relation, second, additional and multiple chances to correct our mistakes.

 

For more “Adventures in Parenting,” read the book written by God – the Father of all creation and existence (Genesis 1:1; 2:4; 5:2). 

 

Paul Schneidmill ©  Copyright 2005