March 24, 2009 • By Ed Wrather
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6 NKJV.
It is not really all that surprising as to what has happened in the Providence, Rhode Island, Roger Williams Middle School. And, what you say, happened in the Middle School named for Roger Williams first governor of the Rhode Island colony and founder of the first Baptist church in America? What happened was that in a conference with Aleyda Uceta the mother of a student at the school the principal, Rudolph Moseley, Jr., told the mother that her son was being suspended for three days. The exact nature of the son’s offense is not known except that he was told to go to a room where students with disciplinary problems were placed, and he refused to go to the room.
What happened next about the conference with the student’s mother would have been shocking 20 years ago, but I am not sure that it is any more. After being told about the disciplinary problems with her son, Aleyda became very angry yelling at the principal, and then she punched him in the face and bit him. When the principal tried to protect himself by pushing the mother away, the son, who was also present at the conference, also hit the principal. A teacher tried to calm Aleyda, but she also punched that teacher in the face. After police officers arrived, Aleyda continued to try to attack the principal, and then did bite an officer, and hit one of the officers in the face. Another officer suffered a back injury during the incident.
I think we can see the way Aleyda has trained up her son to go. Her son’s disciplinary problems are not surprising after we learn of the mother’s violent behavior. I still read the court records published each week in our newspaper, and sometimes find the names of former clients that were on my caseload while I was a parole officer. In addition, now I also find the names of many of their children who are now in trouble for criminal activity as well. Little eyes see what you are doing, and little feet follow down the path that you have gone.
It is sad that in a school named for Roger Williams that behavior like this is seen. Maybe if they were to teach a history class about him and his faith it might reduce the amount of disciplinary problems that they have. If the children were exposed to the writings of Williams it might make a difference. They could read words like these: “…in civil things we may be servants unto men, yet in Divine and Spiritual things the poorest peasant must disdain the service of the highest Prince.” Williams also wrote, “Government and order in families, towns, etc., is the ordinance of the Most High (Romans 13), for the peace and good of mankind.” He wrote too that, “The Lord Jesus is a Christian garment (Romans 13:14): O, let us keep that blessed garment always close about us.”
“Train up a child in the way he should go.” Whether with conscious effort, or unconsciously, every parent is training their children to go in some direction in life. Sadly, great numbers of parents are training their children to go down the road toward evil and violence. Others are training their children to avoid church, and the words of life that they desperately need to live an abundant and effective life. How are you training your children? What direction are they headed toward with their lives?