No. 315

It has been said that “Children in a family are like flowers in a bouquet: there’s always one determined to face in the opposite direction from the way the arranger desires.” For the vast majority of parents, our greatest hope is for our children to grow up to be happy, healthy and successful human beings. In today’s times this is no easy feat even for those parents who are the most qualified, but it is a monumental task for “first time” parents who did not have a good role model or were never taught parenting skills but rather who were allowed to grow up like weeds in a garden.
My good friend, Max Heath, sent me something the other day that really puts what I’m saying into context. It was an article titled “How to know when you are ready to have kids” and it contained a series of tests for first time parents. If you have successfully reared one or more children you will really appreciate this but for young couples who are expecting or thinking about having a child, this will definitely give you something to think about.
Here are the tests. No. 1: Mess Test, “Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains. Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there all summer.” No. 2: Toy Test, “Obtain a 55 gallon box of legos (you may substitute roofing tacks if you wish.) Have a friend spread them all over the house. Put on a blindfold and take off your shoes. Try to walk to the bathroom or kitchen. Do not scream because this would wake a child at night.” No. 3: Grocery Store Test, “Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best) and take them with you as you shop. Always keep them in sight and pay for anything they eat or damage.
No. 4: Dressing Test, “Obtain one large, unhappy, live octopus. Stuff into one small net bag making sure that all the arms stay inside. No. 5: Feeding Test, “Obtain a large plastic milk jug. Fill halfway with water. Suspend from the ceiling with a chord. Start the jug swinging. Try to insert spoonfuls of soggy cereal into the mouth of the jug, while pretending to be an airplane. Now dump the contents of the jug on the floor.
No. 6: Night Test, “Prepare by obtaining a small cloth bag and fill it with 8-12 pounds of sand. Soak it thoroughly in water. At 3:00pm begin to waltz and hum with the bag until 9:00pm. Lay down your bag and set your alarm for 10:00pm. Get up, pick up your bag, and sing every song you have ever heard. Make up about a dozen more and sing these until 4:00am. Set alarm for 5:00am. Get up and make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.
No. 7: Ingenuity Test, “Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and pot of paint, turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet paper tube and turn it into an attractive Christmas candle. Use only scotch tape and a piece of foil. Last, take a milk carton, a Ping-Pong ball, and an empty box of Cocoa Puffs. Make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. No. 8: Automobile Test, “Forget the BMW and buy a station wagon. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player. Take a family-size package of chocolate chip cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Run a rake along both sides of the car. There, perfect!
No. 9: Final Assignment, “Find a couple who already has a small child. Lecture them on how they can improve their discipline, patience, tolerance, and toilet training and child’s table manners. Suggest many ways they can improve. Emphasize to them that they should never allow their children to run wild. Enjoy this experience. It will be the last time you have all the answers.” Well, that’s it. At the very least this should give all of us some food for thought and make us appreciate our parents more. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)