Monday, October 8, 2007

FATHER FORGETS W. Livingston Larned

The other day, I discovered that our son was not eating his sandwiches, lovingly packed by myself. He used to keep it in his bag and I as usual used to ask him daily if he finished it. "Yes" was the answer always. Naturally I was mad with him for lying, for not eating and for wasting food.

I asked him why and he said he wanted to play during break time. I lost my temper and thrashed him! Yes I did.. and then remorse set in. Why did I do it? but my poor son is as always very forgiving... he lovingly accepted all the kisses that I showered upon him. Sometimes I cant but act out the proverb "Spare the rod and spoil the child" .. anyway thank God it only rarely and my Hubby has much better patience when it comes to thrashing, more because he feels he will go out of control. But as for criticism, I guess both of us are equally bad.. we expect too much from our kids.

I am reading Dale Carnegie's book - How to win people and influnse friends.. a great book and I came across this article which was re-printed from the Readers Digest...


Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw
crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your
damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few
minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave
of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.
There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I
scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your
face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning
your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things
on the floor.
At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down
your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too
thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for
my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, "Goodbye,
Daddy!" and I frowned, and said in reply, "Hold your shoulders
Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the
road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were
holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by
marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive -
and if you had to
buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a
Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you
came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I
glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you
hesitated at the door. "What is it you want?" I snapped.
You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and
threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small
arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your
heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were
gone, pattering up the stairs.
Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my
hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit
been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding - this
was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love
you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you
by the yardstick of my own years.
And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your
character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over
the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush
in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have
come to your bed-side in the darkness, and I have knelt there,
It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these
things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow
I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you
suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when
impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: "He is
nothing but a boy - a little boy!"
I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now,
son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby.
Yesterday you were in your mother's arms, your head on her
shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.
Instead of condemning people, let's try to understand them. Let's try
to figure out why they do what they do. That's a lot more profitable
and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and
kindness. "To know all is to forgive all."
As Dr. Johnson said: "God himself, sir, does not propose to judge
man until the end of his days."
Why should you and I?

Principal I - Don't criticize, condemn or complain...

Hope to condense the book and put it up here.. I am sure many have done it already....


  1. That was a touching post. Its the mother's love which we always long for. and i am sure your son knows that.. May be the kid is too young to understand the worth of food (thats why he disrespected it) and too old to know the know much mother love is worth (so he respected it ) :) cheer up lady.

  2. Hi.. those words were too kind for this monster mother!

    very understanding son u r I blv..

  3. Sorry to hear tat Happy kitten. Yes sometimes we just blow our top, in such things n wonder why these kids dont understand? Sometimes, its the work stress, family tensions, otehr day to day happenings tat accumalates n eventually culminates, by finding fault in them n thrashing or scolding them. It happens yaar.

    Its the way of life. Its the way of father daughter mother son relationship. It hurts, but I'm sure they (the kids) are mature enuff to understand tat, it was all part of our un-relenting loving care tat we hav towards them.

    Dont worry, I'm sure he has forgotten abt it....after all boys are boys.

    Jus go home n before u ask him abt the sandwiches or studies, jus hold him, give him a big hug n a sweet kiss. Tat will compensate for all the thrashing you gav plus it will cure ur remorse, also.

  4. spare the rod and spoil the child. It is out of our love to kids that we punish our kids when they do mistakes. If we do not do our duty, they will grow not knowing what is right and what is wrong. A purposeful life will get wasted then and there is no purpose in repenting then.

    Let it not be misunderstood. Let us not feel the remorse or gult. It is in the better interests of the kids.

    Do you know that Dale Carnegie could not cope with his life himself and committed suicide? All his advice to the people of the world gone in thin air??

    esterners may sermon on lot of things and that explains the state of that society. Let us see that our kids are brought up in the right way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and hope I have been very supportve of your role.

    bye.. take care..

  5. Tku Jboy.. so have u used the cane as yet on ur lil ones? BTW.. it was not bcoz I had any other tensions..

    Doc.. that is news to me... but I read that his death is still in dispute but then as u said of he did suicide then what he said was all a waste..

    BTW, thanks for mentioning that it is good not to spare the rod... I think I will always feel bad after an episode.. though I do blv that the rod should not be spared...

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