What Mom Could Have Taught Dr. Spock

A child left to himself disgraces his mother. 

King Solomon

I was four years old and had learned a catchy new phrase from the bigger kids in the neighborhood. I was dying to try it out. I got my chance one fateful day as Mom was vacuuming the living room. I had hopped up on an upholstered chair and was waiting impatiently for Mom to cease from her interruption of my peace and harmony.

Then, it happened. Mom told me to get down off of the chair so that she could give it a quick going over with the vacuum. She had pushed me too far for the last time. It was time to end Mom's tyrannical rule and proclaim my independence, once and for all. In short... it was time for the phrase.

"I don't have to, if I don't want to."

In retrospect, this was probably the last thing that should have been said to Mom on this day. I won't go into the specific details of this case - the statute of limitations may not yet have run out - but I can tell you this: Technically, I was correct as I did not have to move if I didn't want to. But Mom, though woefully lacking in familiarity with Dr. Spock's theories on raising precocious children, was quite familiar with the Bible's instructions on discipline. And though, indeed, I did not have to if I did not want to, Mom was able to make me "want to".

Total elapsed time of the lesson: 2 seconds.

Total time that the lesson has been remembered: 48 years.

Dr. Spock may have sold a ton of books in his day, but he could have learned a lot from my mother. And... I will always love her for the wisdom and love she used in raising at least one hard-headed boy.

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.

Proverbs 23:13, NIV