You're Kidding
Off the Wall, June 8
, 2012

I came out of church one fine Sunday morning when I encountered a young fellow walking his dog. As with other dog walkers I nodded my head and cheerfully said hello. We then proceeded to walk up the street. In the course of our conversation, one thing led to another, as conversations go, and we ended up sharing views about attending church.

“Parents shouldn’t have to force their kids go to church,” he said, was the way our little talk began. That little sentence opened up a whole can of worms, as the saying goes.
“Don’t you think that’s the parents’ role is to form children’s minds as they grow up?” was my comeback. I thought I had driven in the point well enough that I had hit the nail on the head, but apparently not. He repeated his comment.

Then I simply told him that the church is the place where the basics of living are learned. “A matter of fact,” I said, “it’s the parents who pass along not only what the scriptures teach us as to how to walk and love our neighbor, but also they help set the child’s attitude via what the forefathers taught who signed the Constitution.”

I was pleased as to what came out of my mouth. I think it sounded pretty neat, but to no avail. Then he hit me with a zinger that borders on a sensitive topic – abortion. “You know, some people consider it controversial.” I stopped him in tracks. I didn’t know where he intended to go, but I couldn’t let him finish his sentence. “Abortion is wrong. Plain and simple. It goes against the 10 Commandments where it is stated, “Thou should not kill.” If it says it is wrong to kill human beings, then, for a start, abortion should be illegal.” That’s all I could say, for he made a left-hand turn and I went straight ahead.

Upon thinking what the fellow said, it is my opinion that the problems with the kids we encounter may come from a background whereby they rule their parents rather than vice versa. Whatever Billie says, Billie does “type thinking.” How many times have you heard a teenager tell his parents, “If I don’t want to go, I don’t have to.” Hey, who is the boss, anyway? Your kidding yourself if you think the little Gerrys, Stevies and JoAnns are going to crack the whip in their household. Up to the age of 21, the parents have the say. After that, it is hoped that the siblings are going to fly right. If they don’t, they may feel the hard knocks that come being out on one’s own. To some, it will be a real shock, believe me. Others will go on the pretense, “If it feels good, do it.” Wrong!

Everything that is happening nowadays, I am afraid, are the products of the parents’ misguiding, so the kids shouldn’t be blamed most the time. There are exceptions.

Let’s start with the eating habits. I realize not everyone can afford healthy food, but the parents can teach their kids to eat sensibly. For instance, take the Hensley family in Dubious, Idaho. They buy Coca Cola liters by the case. Not only does Mr. Hensley drink the stuff like it’s going out of style, but so do his boys. It is my opinion, once again, that if the mother brought home a jug of orange juice or V-8, the kids would be drinking that instead of downing that acid loaded beverage full of caffeine.

Talking about the latter, I was in the supermarket the other day when a young girl ask her farther, – “Daddy, would you get me some iced coffee?” When I was seven to ten years old, I was high strung enough. I didn’t need any chemical stimulants.

Could it just be that since we are hearing about all these youngsters being treated for anxiousness, having a short attention span and not being able to stay seated too long, that they are suffering from drug intoxication – namely caffeine? Of course, there could be other drugs involved as well. If parents would only practice good parenting and not subject they siblings to caffeinated drinks, maybe their actions would be different.

Recently, I stopped in at Subway to get a sandwich and took up people watching. It wasn’t too long thereafter a man came in with a small child. The little kid looked up at his father and asked, “Can I go get a drink?” His father nodded to the affirmative. The little fellow brought back a bottle of red liquid. The dad never looked to see its name or even its contents as to caffeine. As long as the kid was happy, so was dad.

That type of thinking has to stop. If parents are going to raise their children responsibly, they should pay particular interest to the welfare of the child, sometimes practicing tough love. When it’s all said and done, the offspring may follow the guidelines of the parents.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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