411 Focus

The woman, perhaps his mother, had less than a child's dose of patience, and a vocabulary just as deficient

Contributed By:Dorothy Nevils maslivend@sbcglobal.net

Discipline: Bassackwards

I was in Walgreens a few days ago – Sunday, I think – waiting to pick up a prescription for my mismatched eyes. I had left Aldi a few minutes earlier, and was amazed at, save for the ethnicity of the characters, how similar the scenes were.

As soon as I rolled my cart through the door, I heard a woman yelling at a little boy, seemingly around 8 years old. It took a while for me to get to a spot where I could see her and the tousle-headed kid because of the height of stacks of snacks and raisins and flour and olive oil and other things that declared their identity somberly – which keeps the prices lower.

I finally rounded the right corner and was able to scope out the ruckus. People stood in lines and pretended not to hear, and I wondered where security was. I turned down the aisle and she was out of view, though her loud chastisement could be heard across all aisles!

Reaching the end of the aisle, I heard them in the bathroom. She was in the stall, the boy at the sink. I said quietly, as his hand reached out toward a contraption he didn’t need, “Don’t touch that, sweetie. It’s dirty.” Through the open door she spoke similar words, this time a bit quieter. I made my exit and proceeded to shop. They came out, her volume halved.

Done with my shopping, I swung by Walgreens to get my drops. There was a woman, this time of a darker hue, and a little boy who looked around five. He seemed a bit hyper, and the woman, perhaps his mother, had less than a child’s dose of patience, and a vocabulary just as deficient.

She was evidently upset about a prescription – or its absence – and with no responsible eyes on him, the little tyke wandered, first one space away, and then another… each time being jerked back to the “right spot,” impatience building like the whistle of a Sears & Roebuck tea kettle. “Stop acking bad!” she shrieked, nearly yanking his arm out of socket.

She turned back to the true object of her anger, and I turned to him, quietly interpreting the woman’s frustration in a child’s vocabulary. He looked at me and, and seemingly unused to real language, moved a step closer to his guardian. She grabbed his arm and charged off toward the entrance.

A man had been standing in line behind her dressed in “church clothes,” a nice Sunday suit with a matching tie, neat the way my daddy looked when my stepmother laid out his clothes on “church day.” He looked like a “grandfather,” and his face wore disapproval. Our eyes met, mine saying, in my students’ jargon, “I feel ya.”

I was totally unprepared for his short response. The disapproval in his face was not of the adult. With rather colorful language he voiced his frustration: The woman was not harsh enough!

I cannot stress enough how folks are clueless about the word discipline, how they confuse it with“physical punishment.”

People who know what to wear on Sunday mornings ought to be familiar with the word “discipline.” Here’s a clue: It comes from the word “disciple.” Does discipleship ring a bell?

Story Posted:10/07/2018

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