Afoul of the Law

If you and the members of your family have never run afoul of the law, you are extremely fortunate. It’s a lot easier to become a “criminal” than you may think. Those of us raised in the second half of the last century had a whole different set of rules to live by than exist today.

Young ladies were supposed to be responsible for controlling the impatience of their boyfriends in matters of lust. No matter how insistent his urging, it was all up to the girl to draw the line and not allow him to take advantage. Women who were outraged at that time could, however, slap the face of their tormenter. Today that is battery. You get arrested for that.

In those days when police were called out to a “domestic disturbance” they talked to everyone and chances are, if the man would leave until he cooled off or the woman would forgive him, they would go back to the station and have a cup of coffee, no warrants issued. Today, the woman involved is urged, almost ordered to go to the police department and fill out an affidavit that results in the arrest of her mate. She then is automatically issued a restraining order that prevents him from coming back home to work things out.

If she does decide she wants him back, she has to pay his bail and ask the judge to release the restraining order. This is all well and good if the man was indeed violent and she needs protection from him. On the other hand, when he is just mad and perhaps grips her arm and forces her to turn around and look at him, he has committed battery. If this is the first time he has done this, his wife might be willing to understand the state of mind he was in and let it go. Not so the police. They will gather up the paperwork to lock him up until he pays some money into the coffers and he will be at the mercy of the court through numerous appearances and court dates. When he finally gets sentenced or put on probation, his marriage is over. He may not have anywhere to live and his children will be deemed in need of protection from him.

How things have changed and how “pharasitic” we are. Just like the pharasees of biblical times, we put the law above the intent. Laws intended for use for severely abusive men become tools of persecution when applied to all men that act like fools. And yes, I know we need those laws. I was in an abusive relationship once myself, but if the one strike and you’re out rule is considered to be in the “victim’s” best interest, every man and woman in America will deserve to have a criminal record for some misbehavior they have committed sometime, somewhere.

I don’t want men or women to be beaten up. I want the law and people involved in a fracas to have a little common sense. What—you don’t know what that means? We used to know here in America. Today common sense is very, very uncommon!

O.W.L.

 

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Feed my Sheep

Over the weekend, most of the leaves on the tree outside my office window disappeared from the limbs.  A couple of weeks ago they were vibrant and green. Last week they were gold and red. Then, while I wasn’t looking, they dried up and withered away to crumble into dust and return to the soil. According to God’s plan, they will a soul that does not wither.  When a leaf disintegrates, it is gone. The human soul dose not disintegrate—only the husk within which it lives while it performs the duties assigned to it by God. Nevertheless, if you do your duties well, you will nurture the spirits of the souls that follow you through a lifetime on this earth as surely as the dust of fallen leaves nourishes the leaves of the coming year. The question for you as your autumn approaches is whether or not you are nourishing the sprits of others.  Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.”  This is our duty as well.

Edwina Williams

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A Moral Foundation can be Developed through Literature

You may not have thought about it but perhaps the most important of all reasons for reading a variety of literary works is that reading great literature and reading about great people in history exposes you to wisdom and ideals and to various ideas and philosophies.

As a child, some of my favorite books were biographies of Abraham Lincoln and Ben Franklin. I also read collections of quotations from these two great men. I plowed through all the classics of the Victorian era and many wonderful novels that were in my youth universally clean and wholesome. From this reading, I received an education and a moral foundation.

Morals don’t seem to hold as much importance today as they did back then, and reading “tweets” probably won’t do much to change that.

O.W.L.

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My Daughters-in-Law

My daughters-in-law are very different from one another, but they’ve turned out to be good wives to my sons, who are also very different from one another.

My oldest son and my only college graduate is married to a practical woman.  They arranged their lives together in perfect order—first education, then the big wedding, the house was purchased and then—only then did they have their first baby.  By that time, my son was only a few months shy of the age of a first-time grandfather that we met in the waiting room as we waited for our oldest grandchild, first of their two wonderful boys, to be born.

My youngest son, who was never interested in making money as a teen, is still less interested in money than in personal projects. His wife is also an artistic type who excels at her hobbies and even sells her wonderful sewing crafts as fast as she can make them.  Those two didn’t wait around to marry.  They were planning the wedding before I realized my son had a girlfriend. I was fortunate that she already had another daughter before she came to us because that little girl is a remarkable young person who is a big help to everyone.  After a while, the two had another little girl together, a delightful, beautiful child who looks like her mother and her big sister.

My ex-daughter-in-law, former wife of my middle son, is the mother of two of my precious grandchildren and she is still very dear to me.

I am so fortunate to havethese young women in my life for one particular reason—they are all very good mothers—which is where their maternal similarity ends.  Their mothering styles are completely and totally different.

One raises the children with a lot of attention to education and good behavior.  One gives the children a variety of experiences.  One is raising extremely independent children by virtue of giving them carte blanche to do almost anything that won’t cut, burn or cause an explosion.  (As I was a hovering mother, this seems incredible to me.)

As I said, they are all good mothers.  In spite of their differing parenting styles, their kids are all happy, healthy and well-adjusted.  Those great kids are of course, my grandchildren.  There’s nothing more I could want from a daughter-in-law.

E. Williams

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Helping your Child Learn Honesty

I think honesty is one of the most important aspects of good character. People have better perspective on life situations if they are honest with themselves, and I don’t even need to mention why it is important to be honest with others.

To get your child to feel uncomfortable when he lies and feel “right” about telling the truth—or in other words, help him develop a conscience—here’s something you need to stick by from his earliest years.

Never accept a lie. If your child tells you an untruth, you may agree to drop the subject, but never give him the idea that you believe what he said if you actually know it to be untrue.  (It’s not cute or permissible for him to lie, although “make believe” is a little different and before the age of four or five the child may not know the difference himself.)

If your child has actually tried to convince you of the truth of a lie, a few days or even weeks later, if you bring up the subject again, he may feel comfortable telling you the truth.  Then you can praise him and show your approval. I believe this has better results than “punishment” because when the child is “telling a story”, he may be afraid of the consequences of the truth. Punishing him for the lie confirms in his mind that there’s something important and scary about the situation.

B.Killebrew

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A Quiet Confidence

I don’t pray as much as I should.  (The Bible tells us to pray without cesasing.)  When I do pray, it is often just a quick “thank you” to God for taking care of a small problem; but when problems get truly serious and I pray in earnest over an extended period of time, I am often blessed with a feeling of quiet confidence that God has taken on my burden. When that happens, I know everything will be okay no matter how many setbacks I may face.              BK

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Prepare your Child for New Situations

There is something I learned from raising a “difficult” child that I now utilize with my grandchildren, both the exasperating ones and those with sweet temperaments.  I think it helps them cope with new situations.

Prepare your child for everything.  Don’t let him walk into a strange situation with no preparation. Tell him what he will see, what you will do, what he should do and what he can expect to happen.  Role-play a little bit.  He is more likely to feel competent and stay calm at the ice cream stand if you have rehearsed all the way there exactly what he will say when he orders the ice cream.

We often tell a child when they are doing something wrong, but how can we expect them to behave properly without them knowing exactly what proper behavior is? If my husband and I take a child to a restaurant, we tell them in advance what kind of behavior we expect and why they should behave that way.  We almost always have good results.

To paraphrase an old saying, “An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure.”

B. Killebrew

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Dealing with a Difficult Child

Deal with your child’s stress before you deal with his behavior.

I see a lot of cranky kids in grocery stores and my heart goes out to their parents, but my heart also goes out to the child. One way or another, a child who is acting out is feeling stress. We may have conditioned him to want a treat on every trip to the store and now he doesn’t understand why today is different…or we may have just worn him out dawdling at the frozen food case or chatting with a friend.

The successful way to incorporate a child into a shopping trip is to plan carefully what you will be buying, include the child in conversation and shopping decisions and get the whole thing over as soon as possible.  This won’t guarantee that you will finish while your child is still good-humored, but it improves your odds.

My “difficult” child’s used to have regular “meltdowns” and I was so determined that he would live a normal life and do everything everybody else did that I’m sure I inadvertently caused many of them. For him the excitement and confusion of a party or family gathering was often overwhelming.

When your child has a meltdown, of course you won’t reward him for misbehaving. You will, however, remove him from the stressful situation.

If you’re away from home as calmly as possible take him home.  If you’re at home and he is having a meltdown, particularly if there are guests or another source of confusion at the time, find him a spot somewhere away from the stimulation so he can calm down.  Stay with him or not as his needs seem to dictate, but remember and use this simple rule.  While your child is calming down, he or she needs Separation from Stimulation.

Elizabeth Ruth

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They took an interest in me…

There were a lot of people that took an interest in me when I was a child, and although they couldn’t completely dispel the ignorance of the world that was inherent in my situation, they did give me a few glimpses of what was beyond our front door.

We lived in a four room house. (At one time there were seven of us.) Mom was often sick and Dad didn’t make much money. We had little in the way of worldly goods and we seldom went anywhere special except at those times that some generous adult stepped in to brighten our horizons.

One of my favorite memories of my early years was when I was a second grader. My teacher, also my best friend’s aunt, took the two of us to a neighboring city for a day. She didn’t drive, so the trip was accomplished by bus. We two little girls rode the city bus downtown where we met the aunt and boarded the bus for the city. In the evening, after our day in the city, this was reversed.

While in the city that day, I remember seeing a beautiful display of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer books. I longed for the book. Of course, I couldn’t buy it—I probably only had a little pocket change in my little handbag that I was permitted to spend myself; but that day we did ride an elevator and an escalator and were taken to see a Disney movie after eating in a restaurant—it was a truly memorable day.

Another time my aunt, a dry old woman who went out about as seldom as our family did, took me to the movie for some biblical epic. Perhaps the movie was “The Robe.” I no longer can remember; but I do remember it was a unique experience to see a movie that was so long it had an intermission—and on such a wide screen.

Other times, relatives enlisted me as company for cousins attending a carnival or a drive-in movie. I was invited to a neighbor’s home to watch some musical program on television back when TVs were not situated in every living room.

Had it not been for all those kind people allowing me to participate in their lives, I would have grown up completely ignorant of the world outside our little house and rural school.

An interesting thing is that most of the time when I went on delightful outings by the kindness of others, my mother would scrape together the money to give me for whatever activity was planned; but often my benefactor would not allow me to pay. If the money I was given was not spent for the purpose intended, I always returned home with it and gave it back to Mother.

Today, most children enjoy a variety of experiences. They have a rich environment through television programming even if they seldom leave home. In our time it was different. It was only through the kindness of others that I was able to share in experiences I would otherwise never have had. At the time, I didn’t know enough to be grateful for the favors I was given, but I am grateful now.

Elizabeth Ruth

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A Lesson on Forgiving

My niece, Darcy, is an incredibly sweet child, always eager to please.  She is three years old and she absolutely adores her slightly older cousin.

Recently the two were playing together and had gone into a bedroom together.  Suddenly, Darcy came down the hall in a state of indignation, saying, “Jo-Jo slapped my face.” She had a slightly reddened place on her very pale cheek.

Jo-Jo followed her saying, “I didn’t do anything.  Darcy banged me with her head and I know she did it on purpose.”

Now I love both little girls, but I knew Darcy did not do it on purpose.  Bouncing around in her excitement, she had banged her head into Jo-Jo’s nose.  The sudden pain made Jo-Jo fly off the handle and I knew she had slapped her without thinking.

We had a little talk about it and she finally allowed that she had put up her hand and it had hit Darcy’s cheek. I asked her to apologize to Darcy because her hand had hit her cheek.  She refused, saying, “No.  I didn’t do anything.”

Whereupon Darcy said, “Jo-Jo, I’m sorry my cheek hit your hand.”  Now that is forgiveness.  I’ve never seen anybody forgive any better.

In case you’re worried, we didn’t make a big issue of it right then, but a few days later we had a little talk with Jo-Jo about controlling those sudden flashes of temper; but between you and me, I’ve suffered from the same problem all of my life; and it’s far easier to identify with Jo-Jo’s feistiness than with the amazing kindness of little Darcy. Jo-Jo will have a hard way to go in life, but little Darcy will sail through with the grace of an angel.

Aunt Martha

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