“Maybe I should take him to a psychiatrist, “ I
thought, “ I’m obviously not qualified to raise him.”
Mechanically I cleared away the bowls of half eaten
cereal. Tears quickly formed in my eyes, if only the
solution were that simple. With one common gesture I
had wiped away all traces of mess. “Mess,“ that’s the
perfect word to describe what I was in. What this
whole house was in. How could one small child create
such discord between five people?
This morning had been awful. Who was I kidding? Every
morning was awful. I’d paste that phony smile on my
face, grinding my teeth in preparation of the dance we
were all dreading, but doomed to dance anyways.
The battles over wearing socks in February, which
bowls he could or could not eat cereal from and the
regular morning wrestling match over the toothbrush
never ended. Eight year olds should not still be
acting like toddlers in the throws of the “terrible
twos”. Sure he had ADD, but so did my husband and I.
We understood. Why was Derek so out of control?
When we were growing up, no one talked about ADD.
There was no diagnosis. No medications or behavior
therapy for impulse control. We were simply told we
were bad, troublemakers, or just plain stupid. Armed
with recognition, we knew within 24 hours of Derek’s
birth, that we had a “live one”. Convinced that we
would never repeat the mistakes our parents had made,
we unsuspectingly brought our little darling home and
immediately started fouling things up. Eight years
later, I knew our mistake. I just had no idea how to
fix it. While we had possessed an excellent
understanding of what not to do, we had no working
model for what we should be doing. Derek needed
As I entered the living room, my gaze fell on the
stack of books beside my chair. It had been my
practice for the last several months to spend this
time of day reading. Anxiously, I raced through
parenting books as though the devil himself were at my
heels. Parenting experts. They were all there. John
Townsend with his boundaries, Gary Smalley with his
love languages and Dr. Dobson claiming to tame the
challenging Child. To date, Derek was not only still
Challenging, but he was actually growing worse by the
day if that was possible.
Seeking wise counsel, I had begun reading Christian
authors who promised household harmony. Most of them
were based on complicated systems of rewards and
punishments involving charts and stickers. Having ADD
myself, organization skills were not my strongpoint. I
couldn’t keep track of it all. A few prescribed the
“spare the rod and spoil the child “ approach. Now, I
have nothing against an old fashioned spanking when
the situation warrants, but for every infraction? This
is where I was stuck at the present. Since beginning
this program, Derek had grown worse. What had
originally appeared to be an impulse control problem
now looked an awful lot like deliberate acting up. I
had begun to notice hatred in that cool blue stare. He
was convinced I didn’t like him anymore.
”Your not doing it right,“ the voice whispered,
“You never stick to anything.
It was true. I hadn’t had the heart to spank him for
every infraction as the program demanded.
“ If I did,” I argued,
“ The poor kid would be in his room with a sore bottom
all day. How can I subject him to that?”
“ But this program is biblical! “ the voice answered,
“ It’s endorsed by God. Who are you to argue with
Was it? I wondered.
Suddenly overcome by frustration, I kicked the neat
pile of books all over the room. Dr. Dobson smiled his
grandfatherly smile at me from his new position
dangling from the arm of the sofa, only now he was
“ Sorry,” I giggled.
Bending to pick up the books, I noticed one I hadn’t
“ Oh no,“ I said out loud,
“ No more books. I can’t.”
“Yes,“ came a new voice. God was talking this time.
I realized that God had not spoken to me for quite
sometime. Startled, I spoke out loud.
“ But Lord, they only confuse me more. “
“ You have only to ask,“ he answered.
One of those “AH HA!” moments began to enfold me. I
had asked everyone for advice except the one who could
really help me. I dropped quickly to my knees.
“ Lord,” I prayed,
“ I can’t do this by myself. I will read this book,
but Lord, I’m a little thick. Please, if you want me
to see something, you have to hit me over the head
with it. Thank you. Amen.”
Comforted, I settled into my chair with the book.
An hour later, nothing was leaping off the page at me.
Sighing deeply, I began the next chapter: Train up a
The verse in Proverbs reads: Train up a child in the
way he should go, and when he is old, he will not
depart from it.
I understood the verse to mean, if
you raised your children right, you had a good chance
they would stay that way. The author however had
something very interesting to add.
He stated that the word way, literally meant “his
way”, or according to that child’s uniqueness.
My heart was beginning to pound in my chest. Was this
“ No two children are alike; “ it read,
“Each child must be encouraged and disciplined
according to the child’s personality or ‘bent’. “
Tears streamed down my face as I read the last line -
“ The original word for “his way” in the ancient
Hebrew is written as ‘DEREK’.”