BE WISE AS SERPENTS...HARMLESS AS DOVES!
It all had a very innocent beginning. The phone rang on December 4, 2001.
"Hi! It's your son's principal. I'm sorry to report that your son got hit in the head while playing basketball. We think he'll be fine! He's in the office. You can come and get him if you want."
While waiting in the office, Daniel was in conversation with a younger student.
"Hey, I got hit in the head too...Feel my bump!"
Not to be outdone, Daniel replied, "That's nothing...feel the bump I got when my Dad pushed me on the bed and I hit my head on my sister's dresser!"
Daniel had been verbally combating with his sister, Brittany. I had intervened and told him to sit on his bed and think of some kind words to share with Brittany. As he was slow to obey, I gently placed my index finger on his chest, "Daniel, sit on your bed as I have asked you! Remember, 'I will obey the first time every time!'"
Being in one of his dramatic moods, Daniel did a spectacular flop on his bed...only to over extend himself and hit his head on his sister's dresser! I sense a few of you parents have experienced such dramatics too!
Unknown to us, the Principal, either from hearing the exchange or from the younger student relating the story to her in the privacy of her office...contacted the Children's Aid workers in Oshawa, Ontario.
On December 5, 2001, Lindsay and I were shocked to get a phone call from the Children's Aid workers from our children's school.
"We'd like to meet with you this afternoon. We will be over as soon as possible."
The questions began to flow! "Why do they want to see us?" "What have we done?"
"Do you think they want to take the children away from us?"
"Lord, help us...You have not given us the spirit of fear."
Not long after, the doorbell rang. Two Children's Aid workers stood at our front door.
"Come on in...we can meet up these stairs in our small living room. By the way, I am going to record all that is said."
The questions began to flow, "How do you discipline your children?" "Do you use corporal punishment?"
Our responses were truthful...but guarded.
"Yes, we believe in biblical corporal punishment when the situation demands such a response. We also use the loss of privileges as a means of discipline as well. We also praise our children and reward excellent behaviour with kind words and hugs."
I also quoted one of my Psychology Professors from the University of Manitoba. I'll not forget her wisdom! "Applied psychology to the seat of learning can sharpen perception!"
As we had been informed that they had met with our children, my questions went like this:
"I know you have met with our children. I'm sure you were impressed with their integrity and loving natures. Do you see them as examples of brutally treated children? I suspect you also realize that you have no case of brutal parenting."
Strangely, the conversation began to flow in more loving ways and a positive rapport began to emerge.
"Do you mind if I shared some of God's loving interventions in our lives? Let me tell you of Daniel's healing from asthma at age two...You've got to hear of Brittany's miraculous recovery from surgery in 1998..."
Tonight, for the first time, I asked the children what kinds of questions they were asked by the Children's Aid worker prior to the workers appearance in our home. Here are some of the questions they were asked in the privacy of an office in a one-on-one exchange:
"Who spanks you? How often do they spank you? What do they use to spank you?
Who hurts you the most? Have they ever left any marks on your body? Have they ever hurt you in other parts of your body? How long have they been doing this? How many spanks have you had this week? Which parent hurts you the most when they spank?
What do they feed you? What did you have for breakfast? Do you enjoy what you eat? Which parent do you think is the nicest? Why do you get spankings?"
I am reminded of the saying, "All's well...that ends well!" On December 14, 2001, I received a call from the Children's Aid worker, "Bill, would you like to come to our office. We have some lovely gifts and food for your family!" Being unemployed and in need, my answer was to the point, "I'll be there in 1/2 hour!"
SOME LESSONS LEARNED:
- We must be "slow to anger"! Our applied spanking needs to be done...not in the heat of anger. We are "to be angry and sin not." We should not bruise or damage our children, physically or spiritually, in the heat of rage and disappointment.
- The child must understand why they are being disciplined.
- We must realize that our foe is in the unseen. Our battle needs to be won by prayer and intercession.
- We must love those we perceive to be our enemies...if we don't, we become like them in our anger and abuse. We thanked the workers for their intent to reduce child abuse.
- There is time to forgive. We forgave our Principal and now have a wonderful, cordial relation.
- Be sure to record such sessions with the Children's Aid workers.
- We are more positive with our children and constantly remind them of their preciousness in God's sight and in our sight.
- We now more focus on their good behaviour and reward it with words and deeds.
- We have now cautioned our children about their sharing of truth. They will in the future, under similar circumstances, request us to be present as parents.
- As a family, we are committed to put Psalm 105:1-2 into action whenever the Lord provides the opportunity as he did with the Children's Aid workers.
"Thank the Lord for all the glorious things he does; proclaim them to the nations. Sing his praises and tell everyone about his miracles." (T.L.B.)
Though this situation was extremely painful and trying...we can now say the Lord has taken this situation and through His miraculous love, has turned it into our GOOD!
May the "world" inquire of our Good Shepherd when they see how much we love each other!
My children also just reminded me that God has no record of our sins! The Lord has taken our transgressions and they are removed as "far as the East is from the West." They have been reminded that the devil would like us to focus on what has been forgiven and made history. There is GREAT WISDOM HERE! "This ONE thing I do, FORGETTING THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEHIND..."
Written by Bill Kelsall...January 28, 2003...17-57 Enzo Crescent, Uxbridge, ON. L9P 1M5