Child rearing…instructions not included

Published 10:47 am Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Facebook is a great way to keep up with all those friends and friends of friends who are becoming parents for the very first time.

Seeing all those smiling faces and a ton of photos of newborn babies brings back a flood of memories for this old soul.

It’s been over 30 years since I first laid eyes on my only child….that moment will be forever frozen in my mind.

Ditto for seeing my grandson enter the world and take his first breath. Nearly three years removed from that day (Nov. 19, 2013) the thought of his innocent first cry still brings a tear to my eye.

There were other memorable moments in the life of raising a daughter….her first attempt to master the art of riding a tricycle, then a bicycle, then that motorized Barbie car when she kept running into things, and then getting her driver’s license (thank goodness she didn’t hit anything on that day).

Then there was high school graduation; the thrill of landing a job (and her own money, even though she still remembers the PIN on my ATM card); the happiness of finding a good man followed by marriage (again a big hit on the old debit card); and the joy of motherhood.

Remembering all those good times is the anchor material for this week’s column….that plus a recent e-mail I received regarding raising children. Upon reading it I couldn’t help not to think back to all those trying times; not only with my own flesh and blood, but watching other parents struggle with child rearing; and thinking of those (through the recent news shared on Facebook concerning new parents) taking their first step on that journey.

Whenever your children are out of control, you can take comfort from the thought that even God’s omnipotence did not extend to His own children.

After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing he said was “DON’T.”

“Don’t what,” Adam replied.

“Don’t eat the forbidden fruit,” God said.

“Forbidden fruit. We have forbidden fruit,” Adam inquired. “Hey Eve, we have forbidden fruit.”

“No way,” Eve exclaimed.

“Yes way,” Adam replied.

But the voice of the father was ever present.

“Do NOT eat the fruit,” said God.

“Why,” asked Adam.

“Because I am your father and I said so,” God said, wondering all the while why he didn’t stop creation after making the elephants.

A few minutes later, God saw his children having an apple break and he was ticked!

“Didn’t I tell you not to eat the fruit,” God asked.

“Uh huh,” Adam replied.

“Then why did you,” asked the father.

“I don’t know,” said Eve.

“She started it,” Adam said, thus opening the door for back-and-forth banter between the children.

“Did not!”

“Did too!”


Having had it with the two of them, God’s punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own. Thus the pattern was set and it has never changed.

But always remember there is reassurance in the story.

If you have persistently and lovingly tried to give children wisdom and they haven’t taken it, don’t be hard on yourself. If God had trouble raising children, what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for you?

Here are some things to ponder about raising children.

1. You spend the first two years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next 16 telling them to sit down and shut up.

2. Grandchildren are God’s reward for not killing your own children.

3. Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn’t have said.

4. We childproofed our homes, but they are still getting in.

5. Words of advice for all parents: Be nice to your kids. They will choose your nursing home one day.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publishing. Contact him at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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