Everyone wants the children they love to grown up to be happy, self-assured and successful. "Grandma" teaches them the values that make this happen.
Studio 4 Productions
"Mother!" his feet were scarcely off the school bus. "Mother," he called.
"What is it, son?" I met him on the porch.
"I'm gonna get killed. I'm gonna die."
Seeing no guns, knives or pursing wildlife, I managed to stay calm.
"This guy, Joe, is gonna hit me with his cast. He already broke his hand on another kid he hit."
"That's why his hand's in a cast?"
He nodded. "Do you know how hard casts are? He'll kill me."
"Why you?" I asked.
"I told on him for smoking in the bathroom."
"Berle!" My children weren't raised to be tattletales.
"Well, Mother, the principal said I had to. He said if we saw someone smoking in the bathroom and didn't tell, we were as guilty as if we'd done it ourselves. He's gonna kill me. When he finds out, he'll hit me with that cast."
With an effort, I managed not to divulge my view of a principal who made unfair demands on conscientious children. Instead, I set out to soothe my son.
"He probably doesn't know you did it."
"He has to. I was the only one there except him and his friends."
"Well, son..." I took both his hands. "I'm going to do everything I can to see you don't get hurt, but this is as good a time as any for you to find out, Sometime Doing Right Gets You Into Trouble. Look at what happened to Jesus! He did it right and they crucified him. Most people think it's worth it," I hastened to add.
Slightly mollified, he murmured, "I don't wanna get killed."
"I know," I said. "I think I can guarantee you won't."
This time there were no consequences. In our little chat, the principal assured me, "Most youngsters who smoke in the bathroom do so on a regular basis. They're unlikely to know who reported them"
Later, as a young Marine Lieutenant in charge of firing a twenty-one gun salute, using blanks in a seventy-five millimeter gun, Berle faced a more serious challenge. When time came to fire the gun during a practise, he noted that the street in front of the guns had not been cleared for safety's sake. Although he was firing blanks, the shock waves from the discharge could cause serious damage to the ears of people in the passing cars.
"Fire," ordered the Colonel in charge of the practise.
"Fire," repeated Berle's Captain.
"No, sir!" said Berle.
In the Marine Corps, refusing a direct order from a superior officer is not a small thing. Berle endured a thorough dressing down from the Colonel and a period of anxiety until the reason for his disobedience could be communicated to the irate man.
There's no way to put into words the satisfaction of "Doing Right" even if it gets you into trouble. It's one of those things you have to discover for yourself. Parents can only reassure their children they have found it so, hoping they, in turn, will have the courage to give it a try.
"There's so much good in worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, it hardly behooves any of us, to talk about the rest of us."
"A Soft Answer Turns Away Wrath"
"Don't Let Him Robot you!"
"Treat Others As You Would Like To Be Treated"