Don’t Throw Rocks at Hobos
Andy and Junior grew up in the 1950’s. Simple living, thankfulness and faith in God abounded in their middle-class home. The boys knew honesty was expected and bad behavior received the board of education. In spite of that knowledge, mischief clung to them like glue.
Quiet, obedient five year-old Bonnie watched her two brothers invent playtime activities. Lately, their favorite pass-time included throwing rocks at hobos, jumping on slow moving trains and vaulting off again before the train gained momentum. They knew there would be no trouble – unless Dad found out; but certainly, if Mom ever caught them, Dad would find out.
Bonnie, approaching her brothers as they played ‘catch’ heard their usual response to her unspoken requests.
“No you can’t play with us. You’re too little,” Andy told her.
“Besides you’re a girl,” Junior added.
Amazed, she watched their latest invention, imagining how much fun she’d have playing that game by herself. Taking turns, Andy and Junior threw their baseball hard against the side of the house. It rebounded right into their hands.
Tiring of that game, they hopped on their bikes and raced down the street. It was Bonnie’s turn. With a good, hard throw, the ball hit the side of the house, dropping to the ground. Picking up the ball and stepping back as her brothers had, she wound up and threw with all of her might. It wasn’t as easy as it looked, but she kept trying.
A deafening crash sent glass flying everywhere and brought Mommy running. “What happened, Bonnie?”
“I watched my brothers throw the ball against the house and it bounced back to them. So I tried it, too.” Momentarily she forgot the broken window. “It’s so much fun, Mama. Do you want me to do it again?” Bonnie stooped to retrieve the ball.
“No! Come inside with me.”
“Uh-oh! I think I’m in trouble.”
“Sit in my lap, Bonnie.” Mama’s arms cuddled her. “Daddy works hard to provide for us. If you had broken a small window that would have been bad enough. But you broke the big one and it’s expensive to replace. You didn’t mean it, but it’s like committing a crime against your daddy. Do you know what ‘crime’ means?”
“Is it the same thing as when my brothers throw rocks at the hobos?” Mama’s eyebrows raised as her mouth formed a surprised O.
“Yes. It’s an unkind act. There are consequences for sinning against others. Do you know what that means?”
“I don’t understand that big word you said…conserquenches…but it sounds like I’ll get a spanking from Daddy.” Hopping down, Bonnie ran to her room, hurling herself onto the bed. Scooting to the back of the bed, she plastered her body against the wall, trying to disappear from sight, dreading Daddy’s arrival.
Hours passed. Finally, she heard the front door open and cringed with anxiety as she listened to the subdued sound of Mama and Daddy’s voices. She heard one heavy footstep, then another. She couldn’t flatten herself any further into the wall. Wide-eyed, she stared at the doorway. It was time to face the con…”What was that big word Mama used?”
Daddy slowly walked to the bedside. “So you broke the window? Do you want to tell me about it?”
“No. Do you have to spank me?” Bonnie whispered, shaking her head, tears welling up in her eyes.
“Sit here Bonnie.” He patted the side of the bed. Slowly, head down and eyes averted, she slid towards him. “Mommy said you’ve been up here all afternoon, waiting for me to get home. Did you take a nap?”
“No. I couldn’t sleep.”
Daddy picked her up in his lap, his strong arms holding her tenderly. “I think you’ve
already had enough punishment for what you did. Did Mama tell you about the word ‘mercy’? That means that sometimes instead of the punishment we deserve, we get forgiveness. Would you like to be forgiven?”
“Yes, Daddy. I’ll never throw a ball at the house again.” Wrapping her arms around his neck she continued, “Thank you Daddy. I love you.”
“I love you too, Bonnie.” Hand in hand, they entered the kitchen. Daddy asked, “Mama where are Junior and Andy? They need some education about a few things.”
Proverbs 22:15 KJV Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
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