Ray and I got to the curriculum fair in Chattanooga early last Saturday morning so we could spend some time in the Books Bloom booth. For fifteen years, we have enjoyed Gary and Jan Bloom and their booth full of great old books. We have always liked Gary’s cheerful humor, and Jan and I have had heart-to-heart talks in her booth. This convention season has been extra-special because we have spent time with them “after hours” and have loved getting to know them as a couple.
I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to the copy of Jack and the Beanstalk that I found in their booth, if Clara has not asked me to tell her that story recently. I made a stab at it that day, but it had been so long since I read it that I had forgotten many important details. My quick scan of this copy made me unsure if I would like the story in this version, but I bought it anyway for three reasons. It was a 1934 edition for just $5! I could use the pictures to tell the story. I liked the moral the author had included at the end: “Jack gladly promised to be a dutiful son and told his mother how sorry he was for all the worry he had caused her.”
On Tuesday Clara wanted me to read her two of my new books, so I pulled out Jack for the first time. Everything I remembered from my own childhood was there: the beans, the beanstalk, the kind wife and the mean giant, the goose that laid golden eggs, and the golden harp that talked.
The first words were a lesson for every tender-hearted mother: “Once upon a time, there lived a poor widow who had only one child named Jack. She spoiled him by giving him everything he asked for, so he grew up lazy and disobedient.”
This mother found out the truth in this proverb:
The rod and reproof give wisdom,
But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.
Hang in there, Mama. Be sweet and be loving, but remember that sweetness and love include loving discipline. For some reason the old American Express admonition comes to mind: “American Express–don’t leave home without it.” In effect, the lives of loving mothers say this to their children: “Discipline–I’m making sure that you don’t leave home without it.”
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful;
yet to those who have been trained by it,
afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.