Tuesday, August 30, 2016
How Dancing Lessons Could Fix America
How Dancing Lessons Could Fix America
Four or five days a week I take care of my twin four year old grand-daughters from 4 AM till 3 PM while their Mom is at work. It gives me a chance to bond with them and saves her the babysitting money. Their Mom had to drag them out in the cold to a babysitter in the middle of winter. It really bothered me until I read the verse in First Timothy 5:3 that says, “he that does not take care of his own is worse than an infidel.” It was when I read the definition of infidel that I realized I needed to do something. I spent thirteen years in the Army and have always believed the saying, “ Your either part of the solution or part of the problem, so either lead, follow or get out of the way.” Understanding what the Word said, where I stood and what I chose to do were on me.
After pondering the matter for a bit I realized I needed to do something. Being seventy years old and retired was not an excuse to do nothing. Age does not change the rule. When I told my wife what I intended to do she said I was nuts. She helps me when she is here, but she is gone several months out of the year and has lots of activities that take up her time. I don’t, so it fell on me. Having spent thirteen years in the Army and twenty years driving a truck, I was not around much when our kids were growing up. My wife pretty much carried that load till they were grown. I always felt a little guilty about not being home, but I was making a living. Now I am not and really have no excuse not to step up to the plate.
It was a challenge at first with both of them in pampers. I adapted to it and now that they are out of diapers it is a lot easier. My outlook is that if I carry the ball till they start school next year I will have fulfilled my duty in life. It may go on beyond that, but having already been dead twice, I will be happy to make it that far down the road. I learned in January of 2004 at the age of 57 not to take anything for granted. I had gone from 350 pounds down to 260 pounds and was exercising regularly when I had the big one. It forced me to retire and sell my truck and equipment. Also to make a lot of changes in life I had not planned for.
At the time it happened my youngest daughter was fighting a battle with a brain tumor. The hidden blessing in the heart attack was that I was available to take her to radiation and chemo during the seven year battle with her tumor. She would have been thirty-nine last Saturday. She went home to be with Lord a couple weeks before her thirty-third birthday.
As I look at all the things going on in the world around me, especially all the shootings here in America. I have to wonder what the cause is and is there a solution? I have come to the realization there are two reasons why. One is a lack of responsibility and the other is a lack of discipline. Both come from being raised in a Godless and non God fearing society and world. Especially when the vast majority of the world believes in a faith that offers no salvation or respect for God created life. So in essence we need to return America to its God fearing roots.
The Bible says, ‘I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” This verse has opened my eyes several times in the course of my life. Recently I had a real big dose of it when I least expected it.
My wife was gone to Texas for three weeks and I had the girls all by myself. One day we were eating lunch and Nicole said to me, “Papaw, Emma stuck her tongue out at me.” I laughed and said we couldn’t be doing that and that we would have to cut her tongue off. Thinking that was the end of it I walked to other end of the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, I opened the drawer to get a spoon and suddenly Nicole came running up to me and grasped me around the legs and said, “It is okay. Papaw, you don’t have to cut her tongue off.” I have always tried to teach my kids that if I say I am going to do something, I am going to do it. This experience reminded me that sometimes we need to be careful what we say.
Another time, my oldest grandson and his Mom who lived with us were sitting in the kitchen talking about the good old days. As it was snowing and my wife was in Texas for a couple of months the conversation got into the, “Uphill both ways in a blizzard type of stories.” Which turned into stories of things we didn’t have when we were kids. I told how I didn’t have a bathtub in the house I grew up in. We took bathes in an old metal tub in front of the coal burning stove in the kitchen and how I had to haul all the coal in everyday as one of my chores.
Then my daughter Christina said that when she was growing up they did not have microwave ovens. My nine year old grandson in total disbelief and totally serious said, “No way. How did you cook?” My daughter and I about lost it.
My grandson Daniel and his Mom went on my truck with me out west. We went to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, San Francisco, Crater Lake and after driving down the coastal highway to L.A delivering kitchen cabinets to distributors. We got a load going home via Las Vegas and stopped by the Grand Canyon on the way. Just before entering the Park area we stopped to get ice. I got two bags and Daniel, who was eight at the time wanted to carry one of the bags. Outside the store they had a metal hitching post and I used it to break up my bag of ice before putting it in the cooler. As I did I looked over and saw my grandson breaking up his bag of ice. It made me realize that everything we say and do is subject to being absorbed by those we come in contact with. Our walk with the Lord is not just a Sunday thing. Everything we do, all the time, is subject to interpretation by others. Hopefully it is done in a manner that brings praise to the Lord and a good example to those watching us.
Discipline was something I was taught early in life. Sometimes the lessons were more than I needed. I didn’t forget them and made my mind up early in life that my children would not receive the type of discipline I did. I can remember going to school one day when I was in the second grade and I was standing by my desk and did not sit down when the teacher said we could. She told me to sit down and I told her I would rather stand. When she asked why I told her my Dad had given me a whipping with a belt and that my legs were oozing and if I sat down my pants would stick to my legs and it would hurt too pull the pants loose. Something I had learned from previous whippings. She looked at me a couple minutes then said, “That is okay Richard. You can stand.” She did not send me to the principals office or do anything else. That is just the way it was back then.
Life has a way of going in circles. Later in life as the father of four wonderful girls the need to discipline became my responsibility. I became very creative at it thanks to having to deal with and train soldiers in the Army who sometimes got out of line. I was taught from my time in the learning phase of military life that there are things that are worse than whippings. My wife used lecturing the girls. She would sit them down and start talking and sometimes it would go on for a couple of hours. It used to crack me up when I would see the girls roll their eyes and basically tune her out. They were there physically, but mentally they left less than five minutes into the lecture. The meanest thing I could do or say to them was, “I am going to let your Mom deal with you on this.”
Eventually I did have to give in an use corporal punishment. It came from an episode at the store. They were screaming and misbehaving and out of control. I was really frustrated and told them. “ When we get home you are going to get a dancing lesson.” They settled down and thought they were going to have fun when we got home. When we did get home I took off my belt and asked them why they behaved the way they did. There were no answers. They were focused on my belt. I don’t think I had ever hit them at that time, but I had a habit of snapping it together and threatening them when I was at wits end. I grabbed the oldest and gave her a whack with the belt and she howled. I told them their behavior at the store was unacceptable and if they ever did it again they would get another “Dancing Lesson” and that it was not a threat, it was a promise. They all four got their whack with the belt and it became the threat that would not be dismissed. If you were threatened with a Dancing Lesson, you would get one. Even if it was hours later or even the next day. They knew if I said they were going to get one, they were in fact going to get one. When they got older and I told them to go to their Mom, a couple times they asked me if I would just go ahead and give them their whack. My answer depended on the offense.
They all grew up to be good people and Dancing Lessons have been passed on down through the generations. It is kind of a family thing. It still has the same effect and has made me realize that the lack of Dancing Lessons in America is probably half the problem we have today.
I am into gourds and decided to take my great-grand daughters and their Mom with me to the state gourd show. They have craft programs for the kids and it was my first time out in public with them. They were wild and unruly. I told them when we got home that we were going to have a talk. It went much like the lecture my children received almost forty years ago. I will say that I can talk to them now and they will settle down. They listen to me and that is all I ask of them.
The Bible says “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” I prefer to say, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” Do not make idle threats and use the rod to emphasize what you say. It works and it is something this generation needs to learn along with learning the book the saying comes from and getting to know its author in a personal way. It is a book that says what it means and means what it says. You can take that to the bank.