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Saturday, March 25, 2023
HomeOpinionColumnChildren of all ages learn from what we say

Children of all ages learn from what we say

By: Keith Kappes
Carter County Times

I was sitting in a physician’s waiting room when a young father came in with a boy about four years old.

The little boy wanted to wander around but quickly climbed onto a chair when his father said in a threatening tone:

“Get back up on this chair or I’ll have that nurse give you a shot.”

The dumb dad said it three or four more times with the same terrifying effect on the little boy. I walked out rather than confront him about how wrong he was to create fear of something intended to protect us from disease.

I could imagine that family not having their children immunized against childhood diseases because the kids started screaming when someone mentioned getting a shot.

That statement ranks up on top of the bonehead chart with those by parents who threaten their misbehaving kids with being arrested whenever they spot a police officer in uniform.

Police officers have rescued untold numbers of lost kids, even kidnap victims, because those children learned at an early age that the police are here to protect us.

Rather than dwell on the negatives of mothers and fathers who either are too ignorant or too arrogant to be good parents, I want to share 10 simple phrases I believe parents and grandparents should use freely with their kids and grandkids.

I found this list on the web site of a youth minister in Texas named Trey Morgan. I don’t know if he wrote them but they are definitely worth sharing.

The comments following each phrase are mine.

  • I love you. Three simple words that always provide security and a sense of belonging.
  • I’m proud of you. This will be remembered long after the milkshake or pizza at the postgame party.
  • I’m glad you asked. The perfect way to start answering a tough question.
  • Thanks for checking in. Parents always breathe more easily after saying that into a phone.
  • I forgive you. Three words that show our love is unconditional.
  • Thank you. The best two-word response in any language.
  • Good job. Better than cash after an errand or household chore.
  • You can do it. We all need confidence boosters.
  • Don’t give up. Doing your best each time never goes out of style.
  • No matter what, I’m here for you. That pledge brings joy and comfort if you’re 13 or 53.

Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@gmail.com.



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