Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Friend's Parenting Story

Parenting is Not for the Weak of Heart

Parenting is tough work on your own, even with 2 parents who love their children. Sometimes, the best of parents come up with neat tools to assist them in this onerous, but rewarding work.

A friend sent me this really neat story that is a way that he and his wife shared faith with their kids, and how it mattered day to day:
I remember once explaining to my children why their Mommy and I implemented time-outs, grounding and other disciplinary measures when they broke rules or disobeyed our direct instruction. A family, I explained, is like a small flock of sheep - a small flock which is part of a much larger one because, for sheep, there is safety in numbers. We need to make sure that "safe practices" govern our behaviours because there are - truth be told - wolves out there. Wolves hunt sheep, as we all know. So breaking that code of safe practices doesn't only imperil the the one who breaks the code, but potentially imperils the entire flock!
So, I explained, every small flock of sheep is "herded" by a really cute and funny little sheepdog named Percival aka Percival Perseverance. "Percy's" job was to make sure the little flock stayed together with that much larger flock, so as many sheep as possible could live safely. And Percy applies himself DOGGEDLY to the task. There is simply no escaping Percy's keen eye.
So when a sheep - especially a little sheep aka lamb - strayed from its little flock, Percy would run round the sheep, barking and carrying on. "Get back with the flock, silly! You're endangering EVERYBODY including your mummy and Daddy, your brothers and sisters! Move it, silly face!"
If such admonishments and behaviours didn't serve to route the errant sheep back to its rightful flock, Percy might have to "nip-nip-nip!" at its heels. Sheep do NOT like to have their heels nipped at! Especially the girl sheep, who pay especially high prices for their footwear.
One way or another, Percy almost always gets his way. On those RARE occasions when Percy is unable to get an errant sheep to rejoin its flock, the errant sheep is never EVER seen again by any of the other flock.
"Only God knows where the sheep that refuse to come back end up, or what happens to them," I would conclude. "Because we are all God's sheep, and God never forgets a single one of his flock. But those sheep that went off like that - well - the other sheep have other fish to fry and tend to forget about them over time. The flock is WAY too busy making sure everybody has enough to eat and is safe to worry about the other sheep FOREVER. But God never forgets them, even if they choose to leave His flock.
And Jehovah says somewhere in the Scripture - I reduce it to how I explained it to my kids way back when - "You gotta give a little to get a little back. And when you're taking with God, does it EVER work? Give little here, give a little there, until you've given it all to God throughout every level of life, because the giving is the only thing that you CAN take with you when you finally check out. God remembers everything. Nothing and nobody is ever really lost."
When parents are committed to loving their children and bringing them up in faith, in hopes that they too will come to know God personally, they use lots of tools, because they have been equipped with lots of tools. Discipline is one. To not discipline our children in love is to not really love them, nor does lack of discipline prepare them for the world that awaits them. And in disciplining them, to give them stories and morals that they can relate to is a gift. My friend and his wife were pretty good at it.

I would have enjoyed knowing them when I was younger and raising my own kids. This would have been a nice tool to have in the arsenal of family building.


Joshua Simon said...

Hi there Michael:

All Percies being equal, I think my Percy and your Percy have run across one another in the past! Thank you so much for brightening my day like this. God bless and keep you and yours safe in His Hands.

Michael Brandon said...

My Friend:

I appreciate you sharing this cool story with me. If it was worth sharing between us, it was too good not to share with others.