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As the parents of three young children, my wife and I often took advantage of many helps in order to be good nurturers. However, sometimes even our best efforts resulted in the unexpected.

With hopes of teaching our oldest son the necessity of depending upon God, we began reading to him from the Bible at a very early age. Soon his favorite story became the heroic encounter of the shepherd lad, David, with the Philistine giant, Goliath. How our little boy longed to hear this adventure time after time. One could even see his eager anticipation as the story would build to its climax.

Our son had all but memorized the entire text. Goliath would scoff, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks” as he saw the diminutive David approaching. Undaunted, David boldly replied, “…I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts… this day the Lord will deliver you into my hand.”

Each time the story drew to a close our confidence increased concerning the value of what our son had learned. Now mind you, we had no expectations of producing the world’s next David. But a good man and a good citizen would be nice. However, we were not prepared for the unexpected turn of events that would one day take place.

While busying himself about the house one day our son fell into some childhood naughtiness. My wife, like the excellent mother she was, slowed the household down long enough to lovingly discipline his inappropriate behavior. She had no more brought the wrong behavior to a stop when our son went right back to it. Again she gently, yet firmly, discouraged the behavior. Frustrated, our son pulled himself up to the full stature of his three year old frame, furrowed his eyebrows, planted his hands upon his hips — like a biblical warrior of old — and, with the gruffest tone he could muster, bravely asked, “What am I, but a dog, that you would discipline me!?”

Wrong lesson, my son, wrong lesson.

Reflecting on my son’s misunderstanding causes me to wonder. I wonder if God sometimes smiles, slowly shakes his head, and says, “Wrong lesson, my child, wrong lesson. You know…like those times when traffic crawls at a snail’s pace and we fume with frustration when he wants us to learn a little patience. Or like when times are somewhat meager and we covet what others own while the Savior wants us to become more dependent on him. Or… hmmm…maybe you should finish the story…go ahead, there must to be one or two…

Ricki Lee Brooks

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