Non-Profit Internet Source for News, Events, History, & Culture of Northern Frederick & Carroll County Md./Southern Adams County Pa.


Effective Parenting - take 2

Zenas Sykes

(4/1) With yesterday's copy of my favorite daily in hand (which also happens to be the favorite daily of the Chronicle's Editor), my weary body resting ever so serenely in "His Rocker," I glanced outside to see that winter had finally come. Snow was gently falling, gracing the yard with the purity of an angel. Oh, life couldn't be finer at this moment. God was at the easel, painting another fine work of art. If there is a meter out there that is able to register the tranquility of a moment, it would be off the scale.

"Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!" The shrill sound pierced the air, almost as if fired from a rifle. Moments later, albeit a bit louder, "DaaaaaaaaaAADDDDDDD!" Second volley from a lone rifleman, and based on the shrillness, more to come.

"DDDDDDDDDDDAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDD, WHERE IS THE HOT WATER????????????" Um, this time the entire cavalry participated in the firing. Serenity will have to wait - Fatherhood is calling. "I am sorry dear, what seems to be the issue?" I respond in a moderate tone of voice, knowing full well that my recent discussions with this teenager about lengthy showers needed to take a new direction! "I'M IN THE MIDDLE OF WASHING MY HAIR AND THE HOT WATER IS GETTING COLD!" came the hysterical reply. "Were you shaving your legs using the full shower of hot water again, love?"

All teens need to live through a moment in their lives when resources suddenly get scarce! Use too much hot water, and suddenly the water cools down, and usually when it is least convenient. Eat all the snacks, when a partial meal would do, and suddenly there ends up being no ice cream for weeks on end. Forget to turn out the light over and over and over and over again, don't be surprised when the light suddenly just isn't there anymore! Spend too much of your hard-earned money, and you may be walking because there is no money to fill the tank with gas. No book on parenting ever quite shares with prospective parents how to deal with kids when they suddenly feel as though the entire world is their oyster and restraint gets thrown to the wind. I know; I searched high and low for the resource, but ended up empty. Not to fret, this Dad created his own book of ideas!

"Do you remember the last time you got up early to take a shower, used as much of the hot water as you wanted, and my shower was rather tepid?" Ok, so it was a combination of all the other women in the house that contributed to it, but when one apple is CLEARLY going overboard, something just has to be done. "DAD, what does that have to do with now and the clear fact the shower water is now starting to get really cold!!!!!????" "Hurry up and you won't get hypothermia," I responded. Does shaving one's legs mean that a full burst of hot water is required from the shower head during the E N T I R E process? Isn't there another way? Partially fill the bathtub with warm water and use it as a basin, guys have been doing this for years. Let the hair grow; the women in France have been doing this for years! But when there are several (and I do mean more than just a couple) of folks living within the same house, resources need to be shared!

So when I sat down in my favorite rocker to read the ancient news from yesterday, I was well aware that peace as I knew it, would be broken in the moments ahead. I knew that this particular teen needed to have some shock in her life to awaken the thoughts about sharing and being sparing with resources. Oh, if you're thinking that this is mean, don't even go there! Imagine a number of years down the road and this same person not fully understanding the need to manage resources wisely. We all become the safety net. I figure that a cold shower every once in a while presents a real-life learning experience that the most expensive education probably won't touch. Use too much of something, and there won't be enough of it when I want it later. Figure out a way to use less hot water while shaving my legs, and there will be a supply of hot water to rinse out the soap in my hair. Take only three cookies from the cookie jar, and there will be more cookies the next day, and the day after that. And even more importantly, budget my money wisely and there will always be gas in my car.

Nestled back in my chair, I reminded myself that as with her sister, my skill set at teaching her to drive didn't produce the results I had intended, so I figured if there was to be any hope for her fiscal future, I had better start early and use a wider range of educational tools! Wow, what an image, a cardinal on a fence in the snow. And standing next to me, a college freshwoman in a bathrobe with her hair up in a towel, her face bright red, waiting to have a moment with me. Uhmmm, there better be more tricks in that book of mine. I'm not so sure just how effective the current lesson was!

Read other articles on Effective Parenting by Zenas Sikes