Wednesday, November 6, 2013

On handling children

Some years ago the Brooklyn Tablet  - one of the best Catholic papers in the country, related the experience of a father who had offered to keep house one day while mother went shopping.  This father was an auditor by profession.  He had a knack for keeping accounts.  Figures were his forte.  He could remember them clearly and record them rapidly.  He decided to keep a running record of what took place that day.  Here are some of the day's totals:

Opened the door for children                 106 times
Closed the door for children                    106 times
Tied their shoes                                         16 times
Rescued creeping baby                            21 times
Told two-year old George "don't"          94 times
Stopped quarrels                                       18  times
Spread butter and jelly on bread           11 times
Distributed cookies                                   28 times
Served glasses of water                           15 times
Answered telephone                                 7 times
Wiped noses                                               19 times
Answered questions                                 145 times
Stumped by questions                             175 times
Lost temper                                                47 times
Ran after children (approximately)       4 miles

The exhausted head of the house had to admit that he might have been too busy to       record every time, and that there were incidentals, like picking up toys and taking the scissors away from the baby, which he did in stride without having the second of leisure needed to jot it down.
His list also failed to include the countless other activities of the average mother: washing and ironing and patching and cooking.  It lists not the long hours of watching and nursing, the numberless interruptions of sleep to cover the child, to prepare its bottle, see to its feeding and change its essential clothing.
Nor did he record the hours of anxiety when the little one was sick or upset, or when mother was wondering what was going on at school or at play.  Neither could he list the wearying worries of wife during the teens of her children. Needless to say, next day he went to work, and started to appreciate his wife much more.

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