Childhood Lesson Of Obedience

by SidewalkPhilosopher

As children, we measured our mistakes by our parents reactions.

How Far Back Would Your Memory Have To Take You?


When you look back at some of your mistakes, how far back do you go?

As children, we measured our mistakes by our parent's reactions. What was the first mistake that you recognized as your own fault?

For me, it was the day of my seventh year, when I stopped on my way home from school to visit. This resulted in a two and a half hour delay, sending my parents into a panic.


A Chance Meeting With A Friend

It was a warm, sunny afternoon in the spring of my seventh year. School was almost out and, in a matter of weeks, I would be completing the second grade.

As on other days, after school let out at two o’clock, I was walking home the usual route with my friend, Patricia. The sidewalk took us past my grandmother’s friend’s house. I had visited Mrs. Reeves many times with my grandmother so, when I saw her in the yard, I waved and said hello.

She was a sweet elderly lady and loved children. Immediately, she invited my friend and me in for cookies and milk.

We were excited to be invited in without another adult and beamed as she lavished attention on both of us.

As we sat at her table and talked with her, enjoying our homemade cookies, time was just not a part of our conscious thought.

After our snack, she took us on a tour of her beautiful home full of antiques. Everything was polished to a brilliant shine, having received lots of loving care from Mrs. Reeves over the years.

Finally, we decided we had better start home so we could get our homework done before dinner. We waved goodbye as she stood at the door watching us walk away, with her hand lifted in return.


Children Do Not View Time As Adults

Just as we turned onto the sidewalk from her front walk, a police car pulled up along beside us.

I recognized the patrolman immediately. He was my father’s friend whom everyone called Big Arve. He got his name by rights due to his six foot six frame and hearty appetite which was obvious in his size. My father always joked that he could recognize Big Arve’s patrol car for miles because the driver’s side was always so much lower to the ground than the passenger side.

Big Arve was always very good to me and I was pleased to see him. He had stopped to give me rides home in the past and I thought that was the case today.

Yes, he offered us a ride but not to be courteous. We were soon to hear how he and my father had 

been searching the town for us for over two hours and how frightened they had all been.

None of this had ever occurred to Pat and me. Surely we had only been with Mrs. Reeves for a short while…Big Arve had to be mistaken about the time!

We had only driven a short block when we met my parents, at the corner, in their car and Big Arve stopped the patrol car.

Pat and I climbed out of his car as my parents got out of theirs. As we stood looking into the frightened, yet relieved, eyes of my parents, Big Arve addressed my father, “Ed, if you don’t spank her, I will!!!

I turned to look at Big Arve’s “belt buckle”, just within my eye level...and I was tall for my age. Slowly, my eyes followed the buttons of his shirt until they reached his chin and then looked into his eyes.

For the first time in my entire life of seven years, I said a silent prayer that my father would spank me!!!


A Lesson Learned...To The Fullest!

Yes, my father definitely gave me a good old fashioned, not sparing the “Biblical Rod,” spanking that night after an excellent “talking to” and NEITHER did I EVER forget!

The next day at school, I ran up to Pat to hear about her discipline for arriving home late, ready to share with her what had happened to me.  

I was totally amazed, and somewhat annoyed, that her parents had nothing to say to her about it. They both worked and their maid did not report her missing during those two and a half hours, only telling them when they returned from work that evening.

This was totally dismaying to me! How could it happen! I almost suffered the wrath of Big Arve, barely survived, in my opinion, the “talking to” from my father and the results of my actions from the “Biblical Rod!”  No one had even NOTICED she was LATE?!! 


The more I thought about it, the more furious I was!!


An Explanation Of That Lesson That Spans A Lifetime

That afternoon, as soon as I arrived home, I went straight to my grandmother with this disturbing news!…and she explained…

She told me that, to begin with, I did not obey and come straight home from school as promised.

Second, Mrs. Reeves should have known better than to detain us without calling her since she was in charge while my mother and father were at work.

Then, she explained something to me that really stayed with me. She told me just how lucky I was that my parents and Big Arve cared enough to notice I was missing. They cared enough to be frightened. They cared enough to spend two hours searching for me. And they cared enough to give me that “talking to” and the “Biblical Rod”.


She told me I should be thankful that I was loved that much!!

(Photo: My Grandmother, Mary Grace Martin Ledbetter)


Age Shows No Limit To Obedience, Respect.....And Love!

That was the only time my father ever spanked me but, once was enough...I did not forget!

Oh, I received discipline from my father...just not in the form of a spanking. However, there were times when he would say, "Let me tell you one thing, gal!", that I wished for the "Biblical Rod" instead! His "one thing" usually took about an hour!!

My father didn't have to discipline me often...I respected him and feared his disappointment in me. That was always enough. 

I am thankful that I had a father who wasn't afraid he wouldn't be my friend. He didn't care if I liked him or not, as long as I turned out okay!

Over the years, I walked that sidewalk many times on afternoons after school and it was always with obedience...

And, I never forgot to be thankful that there was always someone waiting for me when I arrived home who loved me enough to want to always know that I was home, safe and sound.

This is the way of our Heavenly Father. In our obedience to Him, we receive His constant guidance as He walks beside us daily, giving us strength, throughout our journey. 

He, too, awaits our return home to spend eternity with Him someday, safe and sound, always comforted and enveloped in His grace and love.

(The name Arve is Norwegian in origin, meaning "Great Eagle"...that he was, always watching over me...and our little town.)

A Toddler's Memories Of Childhood
I find writing is somewhat like painting a picture. However, my words have to make that picture clear to you, not visually, as in a painting, but mentally, allowing your own brain to paint the image that I describe for you. Thus, a toddler’s memories are the pictures their brain saved for them.

Unlocking The Past
There is so much in our lives as children which we do not understand. In my case, the most bewildering was my father. The pastor, at his funeral, spoke of him as being a "tough love." The man, as I knew him when a child, was just that. I spent the first twenty years of my life trying, in vain I felt, to please him and the next twenty-four years running from the memory.

Growing Up In Pendleton SC - Jeanie Sims Hunt
Life experiences mold each of us on a daily basis as we grow and mature into adulthood. The experiences of my childhood have served to enrich my entire life in a very positive way.

Updated: 05/04/2013, SidewalkPhilosopher
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SidewalkPhilosopher on 06/16/2013

So do I, Michey!

Michey on 06/16/2013

Such a great story... In my generation we had discipline lessons from the parents, it is nothing wrong with this...... and now as an adult, I have to thank them for many lessons...

SidewalkPhilosopher on 09/19/2011

Just two good ole' boys who knew what "real" parenting was all about. I am thankful that I had a father who wasn't afraid he wouldn't be my friend. He didn't care if I liked him or not, as long as I turned out okay! Bet yours felt the same way! Thanks for sharing! :)

samsons1 on 09/19/2011

WOW !!! What a good story. I think our dad's must have been brothers...

SidewalkPhilosopher on 08/24/2011

So glad you enjoyed my story, Kathy!! This one was fun to remember and to write!

Kathy in Texas on 08/23/2011

Great story as usual. I can see you clearly throughout the whole experience. I can see how it has helped mold the grown-up you. Kathy

SidewalkPhilosopher on 08/18/2011

That's is right...everything in moderation, my grandmother always said! Thank you for sharing!

happynutritionist on 08/18/2011

A great story as always, and I come from the time when spankings were acceptable, too. We always got talked to and told why first, then Dad would leave the room, then come back and give us a wack or two. I now know that taking the time to talk and leave and come back made sure that the punishment wasn't coming out of the anger of the moment. There was also lots of hugs and forgiveness. It didn't take many spankings to teach a lesson. I can see how the form of punishment can get out of hand, though, but that is true of anything.

SidewalkPhilosopher on 08/13/2011

And I totally agree, Nightbear!! Thank you for sharing!!

nightbear on 08/13/2011

I agree with lessons of discipline, but they must be tempered with love. I think children learn so much more effectively if they feel loved.

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