Note: Expletives in post.
One Sunday evening, some years ago, I was in the kitchen as usual preparing dinner for my family, and I was not smiling. This event was right before I entered the University so I would be around sixteen.
I was feeling frustrated…as usual too- all those crazy teenage hormones throwing a party in my system, making everything seem like the whole world was against me and my happiness.
There I was, vexed and murmuring about how others have cool parents but I had to be only human unfortunate enough to get stuck with slave masters.
I’m daydreaming about getting into the University and running free. Who knows, maybe the whole family will die of starvation when they lose their favourite slave… blah blah blah when in a second, five things happened that would spice up my very usual, boring evening.
First, my gas cooker explodes.
I don’t know if the word, “explode” is a tiny bit too big to describe what happened but the cooker did give a loud ka-boom! and jumped in the air.
Second, fire erupted like a waiting volcano over the pot and right in front of me that I knew I would have been able to taste it had my tongue been out in front of me. I felt the heat of the flames go higher than the top of my head too.
Third, the force of the flames or perhaps the ka-boom, shifts my boiling pot of rice to the edge of the cooker and very precariously close to tipping over.
Fourth, I’m magically endowed with Flash’s ability that I’m able to catch my boiling pot’s handle and stable it in a blink’s time. How it did not spill over me is a miracle in itself. But I’m not here to talk about miracles, am I?
Fifth, that whole crazy second was just the right weight my frustrating life needed to tip over beyond my managerial capability. I reached into the curse section of my well-stocked western library and let loose every single curse word on the shelf of my Hollywood-saturated vocabulary.
“Sh*t! What the hell! What the miserable effing day in hell! G*dammit! God damn it all to hell! Sh*t! Sh*t! Sh*t! Like hell, that sh*t was just in my face! D*mn! D*mn it to hell and back! Sh*t! D*mn it! Just d**n it! What the hell was that! Sh*t! No, no no! That did not just happen! D*mn!…”
We could go on and on but you get the picture already. The F-word was the only curse word I knew but did not mention that day. I guess I’ve always had a huge aversion for it.
There I was turning around in a circle in my surprised-frustrated-rage frenzy when my mum runs in.
“What happened!” You can see the abject fear in her eyes. As I said, the ka-boom was very loud.
“The gas exploded”, I state.
Her eyes are full of terror as she looks me over in the dim evening light to confirm I’m okay. Her eyes take in the surprisingly still boiling pot then she lands me a resounding slap at the back of my head I had not seen coming.
“What is wrong with you!” She spat out. “Something this serious happened and you’re saying sh*t?! How is sh*t supposed to help you?! You cannot even shout Jesus?! Do you know how many people have almost died in horrible accidents and when they shouted Jesusssss, he saved them?!”
Did this tirade end here? Nope, I’m not done.
“You, a Christian and you can’t say, Jesus. You, an MFM born and bred child of God cannot shout Jesus in trouble but it’s sh*t?!” Thankfully, I see the second slap coming and dodge it in time.
“Go outside and kneel down!” she screams.
So outside and to my punishment I go. What my mum did not know was that you have to care about “the Lord” to remember to call him for help in times of crisis. And at that point of my life, I did not give even a grain about any Lord not to talk of his all-powerful name.
I remained on my knees for close to an hour without seeing what I had done wrong except for being silly enough to get caught.
About an hour later, mum’s passing by, she looks at me, shakes her head, hisses and tells me to get up and back to my duty post which I do gladly.
Mum also did not know that the little slap and punishment had not “cured me of my brief foolishnesses” but it did help me to reach a decision.
I did not decide to stop cursing, neither did I decide that God’s name was worth calling at my next crises but to reach the simple conclusion- to never let my parents catch me cursing again.
I remember days like this at strange moments and have to stop myself from laughing out loud in public.
Dear parents and future parents, it’s a costly assumption to raise your children only on Christian cartoons, Sunday schools, 15mins morning devotions or deliverance programs and expect them to become like Jesus’ disciples at fifteen.
They’ll humour you for a time but one day, right before your eyes, you’ll be surprised that what comes out of the cocoon is not a butterfly but a snake.
I’ll tell you why. Humans learn deception quite early. You can say we get born with it. Personally, I believe I received my master’s degree on the course before I even bagged my first school leaving certificate.
It was always so easy to play my parents and get away with it more than half of the time. I knew what was expected so it was easy to play it out while my heart festered like a decaying refuse bin waiting for the opportunity to show the world the real person underneath.
When I look back on my dealings with my parents, I reach the same summary:
Shouting cannot change a child.
Beating cannot change a child.
Talking cannot change a child.
Pampering cannot change a child.
Love and care cannot change a child.
Punishments cannot change a child.
Emotional tears cannot change a child either.
Only the Word of God can.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”.
Dear parents and future parents, if you don’t want to get played,
If you want the best results in your children, feed them the undiluted word of God. It’s the only thing that can search their hearts and change them.
Many have memorised, “spare the rod and spoil the child”, few understand “train up a child in the way he should go and when he’s old, he will not depart from it”.
I know this personally because until I met the Lord, and he slowly used his word to brush out my mouth and heart, the root of the whole problem, I remained the exact way.
As much as disciplining a child is important, without the word of God, it’s a waste of good effort.