Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Huh? (01/21/10)
TITLE: Five boys on a couch
By Janice Samuelson
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You know how sometimes those family stories just leave you perplexed or sometimes they leave you laughing then again there are those that just make you want to go huh!
This is one of those, it’s also a teaching moment, at least it has been for me.
Years ago when my oldest brother Sandy decided to try smoking at the age of 14 my dad caught him. Now my father was a very patient man and had a lot of wisdom in dealing with people and us kids. It was lesson time for all five of my older brothers.
They were lined up on the couch in order of age Sandy 14, Chris 12, Duffy 10, Jim 8, and Jon 6. They were told to sit there an not move until my dad got back.
From Chris’ account no one but Sandy had any idea why dad was upset and poor Jon was terrified and crying, Jim and Duffy were the visual description of a huh moment. Chris and Sandy knew Dad was upset even though he was not yelling it was extremely rare that he did, but, he was dead serious. Chris being the one who challenged authority the most was trying to figure out what he did wrong, but Sandy was sweating, he knew he was in trouble.
About thirty minutes later dad walked in the door, opened a six pack of beer putting one in each of their hands, then he opened a pack of cigarettes putting one in each of their mouths and laying a lighter on the table before them. He looked at each of them, Jon was bawling at this point, Jim was crying, Duffy was about to cry, Chris was shocked, and Sandy was shocked, guilty and crying too.
Dad surveyed these five boys with beer and cigarettes, with tears in his eyes and a rough voice he spoke from the heart “If you boys are going to smoke and drink and break my heart you better do it here and now.”
After several long minutes Sandy squeaked out a whisper of “I’m sorry dad”, threw the beer and cigarette on the table and ran out of the room. Dad just stood there a while as one by one the rest of the boys laid the beer and cigarette on the table and left the room silently.
It was a powerful moment, one that left a lasting memory on my brothers, so powerful none of them ever touched alcohol or cigarettes again.
I thank God for the wisdom he blessed my father with, for how that moment was handled, and the wonderful loving example that was set before me, It has been a wonderful guide and powerful illustrations I have used with my own son who is 13.
Yes, this is a true story, it took place over fifty years ago.
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