Monday, September 8, 2014

Turtles, Turkeys, and Teaching Children Gentleness

The turtles basked in the happy sun. 

Craning their leathery necks, delighting in the sweet warmth of the last days of summer. 

A safe distance from the shore; they dare not come any closer. 

Soon. The children would be heading back to school and they could swim easier--

The lady who worked at the park told her, told my Mom--

"Those boys, those boys; you know what they do--they catch the turtles, and they smash them with their baseball bats."

The turtles, harmless, innocent turtles, broken to oblivion and crushed senseless. 

Senselessly crushed . . .


Because destruction, causing pain in some unexplainable way gives a horrible pleasure to the sinful heart--

Young boys--another evidence that humans are not "good" at the root of it all . . . 

And I brought my daughter to the park the other day--brought her to the park to see "Tom Turkey," as she calls him, and Tom's "wife" and the other farm animals in the simple little petting zoo there. 

We walked up to the pen--and she was excited. 

But another girl, about 8 years old stood there too. And she started banging on the pen, banging hard, trying to make the turkey upset. 

And my immediate thought was, "Let's walk away; I don't want my daughter to see this--"

But then, I thought--maybe there's another way--and I spoke kindly to my daughter-and so that the little girl could hear--"What a sweet, gentle turkey . . . look at him in there . . . " and so on--

And the little girl, who probably was never taught not to bang on cages, or that turkeys can be gentle, sweet creatures, slowly stopped banging on the cage. She looked at me and listened with wide eyes. 

And she saw the turkey in a new way. 

Later on, we walked into the carousel and watched the children riding the colorful horses. 

The little girl was there. She saw me and waved happily at us as she went around. 

Children can be taught gentleness. And sometimes the Lord gives us the opportunity to "redeem" a situation. 

The best time to teach a child is when they are young, before the habits are set hard and fast and they are more difficult to break. 

Because if they're smashing turtles now, what will they be smashing later? 

So I try to teach my children gentleness, by the grace of God, and I try to set my example. 

So that they may not cause pain . . .  ("Lord, let my children not cause pain . . .")

And be sons and daughters of grace. 


  1. This was beautifully written Rebekah! This is a lesson to be a light to those littles ones too! I love how you handled the situation! Thank you for sharing with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays last week. Our new link up is up and running if you would like to join in again this week :) Happy Monday to you!

    1. Thank you for stopping by and also for hosting the link up! :-). Happy Monday to you as well. :-)

  2. This was a very thoughtful and inspiring post. It brought to mind something I hadn't thought of in years. This was back in the early 1960's when kids spent most of their time outside in the summertime. It was early summer and I was a very young child. I couldn't believe what I was hearing as two neighborhood boys were talking and laughing about throwing turtles onto the ground until it broke their shells. I ran home so they wouldn't see me crying.

    I am happy to have found your site this evening.

    1. Susie, I'm so glad that you found the site and visited--what a sad memory! It definitely makes me realize how capable we are as sinners of such terrible things. Praise God for His mercy and grace that enables us to live differently and sensitively towards His creation.