Archive for May 2015

What would you give for a cup of water?

May 21, 2015

By Dr. Steven J. Callis

Those who have seen me would not immediately think, ‘basketball player,’ but I played point guard at the University of Arkansas; woo pig sooie! (I have no idea what that means, so I hope it is okay to print it!) My mom thought I looked cute in my little red uniform. By the way, I did not play ‘for’ the Razorbacks, but ‘at’ the university’s basketball arena.

At 8 years of age I was selected for the basketball all-star team in Fort Smith. We had the privilege of playing an exhibition during halftime at one of the Razorback’s games. Our team was divided in two, the Pros and the Keds. I am most certain that we wowed the crowd with our basketball prowess.

The Pros wore green, the Keds were dressed in red. This 60 mile trip was a big deal for 8 and 9 year old boys. How much trouble could an 8 year old kid (Ked!) cause in such a short trip, right?

One outstanding memory of that experience was being in the locker room where the real basketball players dress and shower. We each had our own gym bag, as we called them in those days, and carried it to the locker room to put on our uniforms. As we were exiting, I noticed a candy dispenser on the wall by the exit door. Assuming no one would mind, I grabbed a handful of those little yellow candies and shoved them in my mouth as we made our way to the basketball court.

I cannot tell you all the repercussions of that decision, suffice to say that those candies actually were salt tablets, and my body was not prepared for what was about to happen! I especially remember the flushed face and the desperate desire to rid my mouth of that taste, and there are no water fountains out on the basketball floor!

From that experienced I learned that what looks like candy may not necessarily be candy at all. I also learned a little about influence; the boy behind me decided he would have some candy, too! And I learned (eventually) that water is a precious commodity that should never be taken for granted.

One source claims that there is enough fresh water on our planet to adequately serve 7 billion people. It is reported, however, that 783 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation, and 6 to 8 million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases.

In our culture of insatiable desire to want more than what we have, the simple blessing of being able to have a drink of water at the push of a button or at the turn of a handle is overlooked. Let’s be thankful for what we have, and at the same time, prayerful and compassionate towards those who are forced to live without the basic human needs to sustain life, and supportive of those legitimate organizations that are working to defeat the unfortunate tragedy of water scarcity.

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What are you going to do about it?

May 21, 2015

By Dr. Steven J. Callis

Being a parent is not a boring task.  There are enough joys, sorrows, challenges, and decisions to keep mom and dad on their toes for years on end.  There are days that our feelings of pride for our children could fill a U-haul truck.  And there are also other kinds of days.

One of my friends posted on Facebook not long ago, “Anyone want a couple of kids?”  I knew she was joking, and I assumed it was a day she had run out of energy and tolerance long before the kids had run out of things to do and messes to make.  And with every stage in our children’s lives, the methods of discipline must be changed to suit their age level.

Discipline is not an easy task.  In the early stages of life I learned that every time I got a spanking, it hurt my mom or dad more than it hurt me.  I only responded to that confession once: “Then let’s skip it.  Neither of us likes getting hurt!”  Then there were those times my mom told me to “just wait until your father gets home.”  I kept this one to myself, but I thought, “Oh no, is he going to get a spanking, too?”

Next, there is the grounding stage, when once again the parent seems to suffer more than the child.  If Larry has to stay home all weekend except for going to church, guess who else has to do the same thing!  Maybe that is when mom should have confessed that it was going to hurt her more than it would me.

Well, whatever the methods of discipline used in a home, I feel certain that they will not be effective if not supported with love.  A friend of mine heard that his son had been in trouble at school.  He spoke about it with his wife and she inquired, “What are you going to do about it?”  His admitted cowardly response was, “Me?  What are you going to do about it?”  Neither of them really enjoyed the task of confrontation.

They decided to give it some time, to see if their son would fess up (and he eventually did).  Meanwhile, his wife asked him, “What are you going to do if it is not true?”  His response was, “I’m going to enter his bedroom where he is asleep, gently rub his back, lean down to kiss him on the head, and whisper in his ear that I love him.”

Then she said, “What are you going to do if it is true?”  His response was, “I’m going to enter his bedroom where he is asleep, gently rub his back, lean down to kiss him on the head, and whisper in his ear that I love him.”

If I err as a parent to one side or the other, I’d rather demonstrate too much love than too little.  I never once enjoyed the task of punishing my children for their disobedience, but I cherished the moments just before or just after the punishment was enforced, when I held them in my arms with a warm hug and a kiss on the cheek with words of assurance that I love them.  I truly believe that the love is what made the discipline so effective.