No. 17


While it should go without saying, most of us parents love our children and we want the very best futures for them and want them to become productive, responsible, law abiding citizens.

However, apparently a lot of parents do not realize that their own attitudes and behavior contribute to the real possibility of one or more of their children winding up in prison.
Along these lines I want to share something titled HOW TO RAISE A CROOK, printed some time ago in The Presbyterian Journal. I hope if you are a parent or someone who is in a position to influence the values, morals and character of young people, you may benefit from it. If you'll think about it, much of what we learn comes from the experience of others and it can be for bad or for good.


1. Begin from infancy to give the child everything he wants; this way he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living.

2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him -- it will encourage him to pick up "cuter" phrases that will blow the top of your head off later.

3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is twenty-one and then let him decide for himself.

4. Avoid the use of the word "wrong." He may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him and that he is being persecuted.

5. Pick up anything he leaves lying around: books, shoes, clothing. Do everything for him so he will be experienced in throwing the responsibility onto others.

6. Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feed on garbage.

7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of children, then they won't be too shocked when the home is broken up.

8. Give the child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you have had them?

9. Satisfy his every need for food, drink and comfort. Denial may lead to harmful frustrations.

10. Take his part against the neighbors, teachers and policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.

11. When he gets into real trouble, apologize for yourself by saying, "I never could do anything with him."

Certainly this is a personal thing, but let's hope this article will help us see ourselves in a true light, and it will make a positive difference in our attitudes toward raising our children and grandchildren. Someone once said that "prison" is a school to which criminals are sent to figure out what went wrong." It's no real mystery. When parents are not good role models and fail to teach character values to their children, the results are usually predictable. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)