During my first year of college I was involved in a first class food fight. I am certainly not proud of such immature, irresponsible behavior, but I can’t tell you that it wasn’t fun! If I remember correctly, it was lunch time and they were serving spaghetti and meatballs, salad and those little melon balls. Those mushy melons made for perfect ammo. I am not sure who threw the first one, but mine certainly wasn’t far behind.
For a good 20 minutes the stresses of mid terms were forgotten and screams of pure delight filled the dining hall. But since our campus was located on a military base in Germany, it didn’t take long for the MPs to show and restore order.
Now they could have disciplined us through the college, or made it a military matter and justice would have been served down through the chain of command (impacting our father’s careers).But instead they locked the doors and about fifty 18 year olds spent the rest of the day cleaning, really cleaning. We scrubbed walls and pots and pans. We washed dishes and trash cans. And we wrote letters of apology to the base commander.
Needless to say, I never did it again.
I got to remembering all those details after I read an article by CBS Broadcasting entitled “Several kids arrested after food fight”. It seems that some 25 kids aged 11-15 were arrested for a food fight in a Chicago Charter school.
What caught my attention was the reaction of the parents. Instead of supporting the school district and police authorities as they held their children accountable, the parents groused about how long the kids had to wait to be picked up. They were worried that until they turn 17 (when their juvenile record is expunged) the kids may have difficulty finding a summer job. They resented that school officials “belittled” their sons and called their behavior inexcusable.
Woo! Times have sure changed. In a situation when teenagers clearly needed discipline with significant consequences, what they got were whining parents excusing the inexcusable.
Parents, let’s take this story as a bit of a wakeup call this week, and follow the injunction of the scriptures. In Proverbs 22:15 it declares, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. The rod of discipline will remove it for from him”. The rod does not have to be a literal stick…but the discipline must be literal, effective and meaningful.
Your children may not be tossing melons, but they desperately need you to be diligent and discipline them when necessary.
I “gotta” tell you, if my dad had known about the flying melons, I would still be painting the walls of that dining hall!
Warmest regards in Christ,
Sherry L. Worel
Stoneybrooke Christian Schools