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April 6, 2017

The last week or so has been spent cleaning out my desk drawers. Files upon files have been gone through and my mind has wondered why this was deemed worth saving. One set of papers was filed under three different headings. Needless to say, I am feeling more organized. There are also those things that make me go, “Shoot, I thought I had done that!” So, there are more things to complete. It’s all good.

But there in the drawers sit four different books that seemed important to read for my job. They certainly aren’t to read for entertainment purposes. But there are some good thoughts to ponder in them.

I’m in the sharing mood, so let’s go to “The Road Less Traveled.” M. Scott Peck, M.D. has some interesting observations.

He speaks of children who receive “undisciplined discipline” where they are often “punished frequently and severely throughout their childhood – slapped, punched, kicked, beaten, and whipped by their parents for even minor infractions.” He says this type of discipline is meaningless because it is undisciplined discipline.

This is all following the chapter that says we need to be disciplined to meet the problems in our lives. But more about the undisciplined disciplining parents.

“They may frequently get drunk in front of their children. They may fight with each other in front of the children without restraint, dignity or rationality. They may be slovenly. They make promises they don’t keep. Their own live are frequently and obviously in disorder and disarray, and their attempts to order the lives of their children seem therefore to make little sense to these children.

“If father beats up mother regularly, what sense does it make to a boy when his mother beats him up because he beat up his sister? Does it make sense when he’s told that he must learn to control his temper? Since we do not have the benefit of comparison when we are young, our parents are godlike figures to our childish eyes. When parents do things a certain way, it seems to the young child the way to do them, the way they should be done.

“If a child sees his parents day in and day out behaving with self – discipline, restraint, dignity and a capacity to order their own lives, then the child will come to feel in the deepest fibers of his being that this is the way to live ….\

“Yet even more important than role modeling is love. For even in chaotic and disordered homes genuine love is occasionally present, and from such homes may come self – disciplined children. And not infrequently, parents who are professional people – who lead lives of strict orderliness and decorum but yet lack love, send children into the world who are as undisciplined and destructive and disorganized as any child from an impoverished and chaotic home.

“Ultimately love is everything.

“When we love something, it is of value to us, and when something is of value to us we spend time with it, time enjoying it and time taking care of it. Observe a teenager in love with his car and note the time he will spend admiring it, polishing it, repairing it, tuning it. Or a gardener with time spent pruning and mulching and fertilizing. So, it is when we love children; we spend time admiring them and caring for them.

“We give them our time.

“The time and the quality of the time that their parents devote to them indicate to children the degree to which they are valued by their parents.

“The feeling of being valuable is essential to mental health and is a cornerstone of self – discipline. It is a direct product of parental love.

“When children have learned through the love of their parents to feel valuable, it is almost impossible for the vicissitudes of adulthood to destroy their spirit.”

The author goes on to say that if you don’t get this from your parents, it is possible to get it from other people, but it is much more difficult.

Anyone who has children knows that there are no perfect parents … heck, everyone knows that because they are someone’s child. But we need to continually work at getting better. There is always a need for us to help give some sense of worth to those we love.

That’s the challenge for this week … go and share that love. And while you’re at it, come downtown and I’ll see you on the bricks.