As if talking to parents, Proverbs 19:18 stated: “Correct your children before it’s too late; if you don’t punish them, you are destroying them.”

This verse from the Holy Bible came to my mind after reading the story that was circulated in the social media.  I don’t know who shared it first nor who the author is.  But I am sharing this to you, dear readers, so those parents can get a lesson or two from it.

I think the story happened outside of the Philippines (because death penalty is still not legal) and it was addressed to his mother.  Read it silently and ponder:

A prison inmate on a death row was asked his last wish before he could be electrocuted in the electric chair, he asked for a pen and paper and wrote:

Dear Mom,

If the law was fair today, you would be here seated next to me waiting to be electrocuted in the chair; but since the law is blind, I have been convicted for the crimes we committed together.

Mom, do you remember how it started?  Can you still recall that day when I was three years old when I stole my brother’s sweets?  You didn’t correct me, remember very well when I was five the day, I stole my neighbor’s toys and hid it at home and you said nothing.

Mom, remember when I was 12 when I hid my cousin’s ball in the garage when he had come to play with us at home and you said that you didn’t see it yet you saw it.

Do you remember the day I was expelled from school when I was 15?

Dad wanted to punish me but you refused and that very day you had a bitter argument with dad about this because you were defending me.  You said I was still young and added the teachers were wrong to say that I was not attending class.

You defended me.  You said I was right yet you knew I was wrong.

Mom remember very well when you saw me steal our neighbor’s bicycle when I was 17 but you didn’t report.  I sold it but you were silent about the incident.

You loved me so much.  Yes, you loved me but you didn’t correct me, instead you spoilt me. 

That is how it started and it graduated slowly until today when I will be electrocuted for bank robbery and murder.

I was very young; I just needed your guidance mom.  By the time you will be reading this, I will be gone.

Yours truly,

Your loving son

The story ends with this beseeching to parents: To all parents out there, the Bible states: “Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.  Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.”

In Texas, the Police Department of Houston published a pamphlet on the rules for raising a problematic child.  It reads as follows:

From infancy on, give the child everything he wants.  This will make him believe the world owes him a living.  When he picks up bad words, laugh at him.  This will make him think he’s cute.

Never give him any spiritual training. Let him decide for himself when he’s twenty-one (or when he is legal to do things).  Avoid using the word “wrong.”  It might develop a guilt complex.  When arrested later on, he will think he is being persecuted.

Pick up everything he leaves lying around.  This will teach him to throw all responsibility onto others.  Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on.  Sterilize his cups and sauces but let his mind feast on garbage.

Give a child all the spending money he wants.  Why should he have things as tough as you had them?  Satisfy his every craving for food, drink, drugs and sex.  Denial may lead to harmful frustration and nervous breakdown.

Take his part against neighbors, teachers and policemen.  They are all prejudiced against your child.  When he gets into real trouble, apologize for yourself by saying, “I could never do anything with him.”

Prepare for a life of grief.  You will be likely to have it.

Parents, if you want to discipline your children, do it with tough-love.  In order for you know what this means, allow me to share an anecdote penned by Arthur Tonne.  It happened in a department store where a stubborn little brat occupied the rocking horse.

Appeals and promises from his mother made no impression on him.  “Come on, baby, we have to get home and prepare supper,” she begged.  The department store manager also coaxed – without success.  At last, in exasperation, they asked the store psychiatrist to lend a hand.

The gentleman calmly walked over to the boy, whispered something into his ear, and the boy bounced off the horse and raced toward his mother.

“What in the world did you tell him?” the mother asked.  The psychiatrist explained, “I just said, ‘If you don’t get off that horse by the time, I have counted five, I’ll knock the devil out of you.”

That’s what tough-love is all about: discipline backed up with penalties, yet mixed with love.

Parents, do you really love your children?  When was the last time you spend time with them?  Most of the time, children only mingle and interact with their mothers – and not much with their fathers.

The Christian Herald reported of a survey made among 300 seventh and eighth grade boys for a two-week period to discover how much time fathers and sons spent together.  Each boy kept an accurate record of the time spent with his father.  The boys who saw their father only at the dinner table comprised the largest group.

A number of boys never saw their fathers for days at a time, some not even for weeks.  The average time father and son had alone together for an entire week was 7.5 minutes!

This simply means that if your children grow up the way you expect them to be, don’t blame your neighbors or teachers or the environment.  Parents, blame yourselves.  After all, the children’s first teachers are the parents.

Children are what they are because of their parents!