Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Be careful little mouth what you say...

Yesterday my kindergartener came home with a letter from his teacher saying that my son had told a boy in his class that he would, "take out his knife and murder him." I think any parent reading this will understand my shock and horror that my child would say such a thing. We had a long talk about it, and he was duly punished, but deep down I feel this is less his fault than mine.

As a parent, it's my job to instill values in my children. I've spent plenty of time emphasizing the importance of the things we DO, but I now realize that I've been sadly remiss in driving home the importance of the things we SAY. Not for nothing does the Bible say, If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. (James 3:2)

The things we say matter. It's easy to insist that actions count more than words, but as people who think and relate to the world in words, how can we deny the power of them?

I'm far from a good example of this. My wife could tell you what a verbal monster I can be. With me to guide him, is it any wonder that my son says things he shouldn't?

I sent the following letter to his teacher today, by way of an apology:

Dear Mr. Davis,

I was deeply distressed to hear what my son said yesterday, and would like to thank you for informing me so that I can work to correct this sort of behavior. Please do not blame my son, as the fault clearly lies with me. As his father, it is my responsibility to teach him integrity in both his actions and words, and it is plain from this incident that I have not been living up to my duties.

We've had a long talk about it, and I think I can assure you that the next time my son says he will "take out a knife and murder" somebody, he will actually have a knife on his person to take out and use in the way he describes. That my son would say something like that, knowing full well that he had no capacity to follow through, reflects poorly upon me as a father, I know. Empty threats are nothing more than lies, and lies should not be part of any decent child's upbringing. Honesty is the cornerstone of integrity, and without integrity we are little more than dumb beasts, but I can assure you that I will strive, henceforth, to be an example to my son of the importance of honesty, and that empty threats will no longer be tolerated, especially from myself.

Gabriel R. Miller, Father