The  10 Commitments
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By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller

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Excerpts from the eBookMother and Daughter Hugging

Corrine is a single parent with a ten-year-old autistic son. Every Saturday afternoon she takes him to the corner convenience store where they each purchase a Coke and a pretzel.

The Saturday afternoon ritual is usually a long, drawn-out process. Mark likes to pour his own drink, which is not easy for him to do. He often knocks over the cup, drops ice on the floor, and spills Coke on the counter. Occasionally, he drops his entire drink on the floor and has to start over.

Corrine could easily eliminate the confusion and the pending mess by doing it all herself, but she knows that Mark enjoys the opportunity to be independent. She views the Coke and pretzel adventure as a great experience for him. So now, whenever they head to the corner store for a Coke, Corrine tucks a roll of paper towels under her arm. She goes prepared because she knows the experience of letting Mark pour his own drink is messy.


Jean Claude was replacing a broken fence board when he dropped the box of nails into the grass. "Darn it! How am I going to find all those?" he exclaimed in exasperation. His four-year-old son, Stephen, who had been watching his father closely, quickly chimed in, "I know."

"You know what?"

"I know how you can find all the nails."

Interested in hearing what solution his four year old would come up with, Jean Claude pressed him. "How do you suggest I find all these nails?"

"Well, you pick up all the ones you can see, and I'll go in the house and get a magnet off the refrigerator. We can let the magnet get the rest for us."

A grin came across Jean Claude's face as he thought, I might have been down on my hands and knees for a long time before I came up with that idea. Still smiling, he looked at Stephen and said, "That's a great idea. I'll get started on picking these up. You . . ."

Before he could finish, Stephen had disappeared around the corner of the fence toward the house, running as fast as his little legs could take him. Moments later, he returned with a refrigerator magnet in hand and a grin to match that of his father.


Bradley's father was a problem solver. If something broke, he fixed it. If a problem surfaced, he solved it. If an answer was needed, he supplied it.

Problems didn't last long at Bradley's house. His father saw to that. He was skillful, efficient, and thorough in his problem-solving.

At first glance Bradley's father appeared to be a great model for solution seeking, a closer looks revealed a different picture.

Bradley's father was a quiet man. When he went after a solution, he didn't say much about what he was doing or why. He simply took action without articulating any of the thoughts that went on in his mind. One day, Bradley's mother couldn't get the top right hand drawer of the antique desk open. She asked her husband for help. Bradley's father looked at it for a few minutes, yanked on it, and then opened up the top drawer on the left side. That action unlocked the right hand drawer.

Bradley was impressed. The action reaffirmed a belief he had been cultivating for several years: When you are an adult, you know. A corollary belief was that, until then, you won't be able to solve much because you're only a child. He could look forward to being an adult because adults know.

What Bradley missed learning from his father was the lengthy and creative solution-seeking thinking that went on in his mind as he figured out how to tackle a problem. In dealing with the stuck drawer, his father mentally went through a series of possible solutions. He originally thought he could force it open and tried that, but to no avail. He thought about kicking it, but rejected that idea as he was wearing only socks on his feet. He thought about getting a screwdriver and forcing it between the top of the desk and the top of the drawer and wiggling it back and forth. He dismissed that idea because it might leave marks on the wood of this beautiful antique. That's when Bradley's father guessed that the drawer that appeared to be stuck had a catch on it that would be released by opening another drawer.

Since Bradley was unaware of the solution-seeking process that went on in his father's head, he just figured, When you are an adult, you know.


When Mr. Ashcroft's two sons were in fifth and sixth grades, both of their teachers commented on the sad state of the boys' penmanship. Being a former teacher himself, Mr. Ashcroft believed that one of the best ways to improve penmanship is to practice, but he didn't want his children to sit and do formal penmanship sessions, forming the same letters over and over. So he offered his sons a deal. He agreed to extend each child's bedtime by one-half hour if they would agree to write in a journal for ten minutes of that time. Both boys agreed. Spiral notebooks were purchased for the project.

Each night, when the boys finished writing, they would bring their journals to their father before they went to bed. He would write a few sentences in response and leave the journals by their bedroom door for them to find in the morning. This journal activity was not used to correct spelling, punctuation, or comment on penmanship. It was used as a time to build relationships. It was a way to connect.

Mr. Ashcroft found that his children would often put in writing what they would not say aloud. Responding in journals gave him an opportunity to think through what he wanted to say and to share parts of himself with his children.

Over time, the boys' penmanship improved. So did the relationship between a father and his sons.

 
 
Contact Chick Moorman at ipp57@aol.com or www.chickmoorman.com.
Contact Thomas Haller at thomas@thomashaller.com or www.thomashaller.com.