Parenting Illustrations

  • Bus Manners

    bus interiorA young mother was riding the bus with her four year old boy when he suddenly blurted out so that everyone in the bus could hear, "Look mom, see that man's nose, it looks soooo funny!"

    The mother was quite embarrassed and scolded her son. Then she whispered to him that if there was something he wanted to say about someone then he had to wait until they got home or at least where nobody could hear them, so that nobody would be sad.

  • Conclusions and Impressions

    crayonsLittle Johnny had been bringing his drawings home from kindergarten every day since he started a month ago. Each day his mother admired the pictures and hung them on the refrigerator. One thing started bothering her. Little Johnny only used black and browns for his drawings. Fearing a problem and not wanting it to get worse, she decided to take him to a child psychologist.

  • Family Fruitcakes


    By Saralee Perel

    This season, certain relatives we haven't seen since last Christmas (because we kept making excuses) gather together. During festive meals, we sharply elbow loved ones sitting next to us. This is to discourage them from snapping back at innuendos that loved ones sitting further away are spewing.

    Sibling rivalry is a brief adolescent phase that ends at age 92. It stems from the fact that most kids have distinctively different ideas as to what their parents are really like. And we each know our perspective is the RIGHT one.

    Back when my parents were alive, the whole family met for holiday dinners.

    My folks doted upon on my perfect/skinny/refined/rich brother Michael.

    Dad to Mike at supper: "How's the government (meaning high paying) job going?"

    Me, interrupting: "Bob makes money too." Bob sharply elbows me.

    Mom, assuming I'm on a diet because – well, I should be, dollops skinny Mike's potato pancakes with sour cream. And me? I had to dollop all by myself. Can you imagine the hurt?

    Me to Bob: "Tell everybody the things we buy . . . the really good things like . . . we have a car."

    Mom to me, with a look of compassion I always detested, because I would have truly preferred a fight: "Is something wrong, honey?"

    Me: "Hah! As if you don't know."

    Mike to me: "It's wonderful to see you. I've missed you."

    Me to everyone: "Mr. Perfect here is obviously trying to start something," I say victoriously as I dramatically exit in my "Sarah Heartburn" (as mom always called it) style.

    Bob has two older sisters, Dottie and Lucy. His parents doted on him. The girls hated that, but Bob sucked it up. The girls show this resentment differently. Dottie is sarcastic.

    Bob to Dottie at a Christmas dinner: "Do you like your school nurse job?"

    Dottie: "I love it. It gives mum and dad a WHOLE LOT of time to ask me to do a thousand things for them and NEVER call you for anything. Not that if they did you wouldn't have some stupid well-rehearsed excuse. How's your job?"

    Lucy is attention-seeking and – oh boy, timeout - Bob won't let me write an example. He's afraid if I do, she'll come over and steal silverware.

    All right. It's Christmas for heaven's sake. The time of miracles. Let me role-play my fantasy holiday dinners.

    Mom to me, while piling whipped cream on my sponge cake: "Don't you eat? You're just skin and bones!"

    Me to Mom: "Poor Mike. With those hips, he's got to diet." I turn to Mike. "But not tonight, OK?" I spoon all my whipped cream on his cake.

    Dad to me: "When I die, I'll die peacefully because I know how stinking rich you've made yourself." My parents toast me. But I add, "Mike's here too!" We all raise our glasses.

    At Bob's family dinner, Dottie affectionately turns to Bob: "I want to do everything for the folks. I know you're busy, what with a dog to walk and all. But if you wouldn't mind just showing up only for special family occasions the way you do now, then you'll stay in the will and that would make me so happy."

    Lucy picks up a sterling silver spoon and does not put it in her pocket.

    And so, the holidays are the time bombs of the dysfunctional (like there's somebody who isn't). But I know 4 things:

    1. I don't think this is the best time to bring up our issues. When is the time right? I don't know. Probably not at a once-a-year holiday dinner.

    2. I love Mike.

    3. I loved my parents.

    4. I'm missing 7 sterling forks.

    Award-winning columnist/novelist Saralee Perel can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via her website: http://www.saraleeperel.com/

    Her novel,"Raw Nerves," is available on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/44797

  • Fatherly Pride

    boy happyMy dad gave me one dollar bill
    'Cause I'm his smartest son,
    And I swapped it for two shiny quarters
    'Cause two is more than one!

    And then I took the quarters
    And traded them to Lou
    For three dimes--I guess he didn't know
    That three is more than two!

  • Generation Gap

    computer2I've got 3 TVs, cable and a satellite dish. I have 3 phone lines in the house, a cell phone and one in the car.

    I use 2 computers, 3 ISPs and a fax. I subscribe to two daily papers and one weekly one. I watch both the local and the network news every evening.

    And my kids have the nerve to tell me I'm out of touch.

  • Heredity

    child happyWith her brown eyes and curly hair, our youngest daughter takes after my husband. At three, she was a lively, mischievous girl, and people often remarked on how cute she was. One day I was standing with her in the supermarket when a woman commented on how cute she was.

    My smile disappeared when she asked, "Is she really yours?"

  • Inspiration

    sermon writing

    A boy was watching his father, a pastor, write a sermon.

    "How do you know what to say?" he asked.

    "Why, God tells me."

    "Oh, then why do you keep crossing things out?"


  • Lesson Learned

    old manWhen my son was around 4 years old, we went to the local drug store one afternoon. While in the check out he noticed a bald-headed man behind us in line. I had, as good moms do, been teaching him manners, especially how important they are when in public. I noticed the man the same time my son did and just prayed that he would remember what I had taught him.

    Within seconds, at an unusually quiet moment in the store, my son proclaimed, "Look mama, that man ain't got no hair!" The man was understanding, and even smiled at my son.

    Next, without warning, my son shouted, "And look, he ain't got no teeth either!!"

  • Outhouse Confession

    outhouseOnce there was a little boy who lived in the country.

    For facilities, they had to use an outhouse, and the little boy hated it because it was hot in the summer, cold in the winter and stank all the time. The outhouse was sitting on the bank of a creek and the boy determined that one day he would push that outhouse into the water.

    One day after a spring rain, the creek was swollen so the little boy decided today was the day to push the outhouse into the creek.  So he got a large stick and pushed. Finally, the outhouse toppled into the creek and floated away.

  • Parenting

    baby 6moWhen my wife quit work to take care of our new baby daughter, countless hours of peekaboo and other games slowly took their toll. One evening she smacked her bare toes on the corner of a dresser and, grabbing her foot, sank to the floor.

    I rushed to her side and asked where it hurt.

    She looked at me through tear-filled eyes and managed to moan,

    "It's the piggy that ate roast beef."

  • Parenting Again

    watergunsWhen my three-year-old son opened the birthday gift from his grandmother, he discovered a water pistol. He squealed with delight and headed for the nearest sink. I was not so pleased.

    I turned to Mom and said, "I'm surprised at you. Don't you remember how we used to drive you crazy with water guns?"

    Mom smiled and then replied....."I remember."

  • Parenting Angst

    children4I was leaving for a two-day conference, and my seven-year-old daughter, Katherine, was becoming overly clinging and teary.

    I was mystified at her emotional reaction until I heard her say to my husband,

    "Daddy, I have a loose tooth. If it falls out while Mommy is gone, do you know how to handle this tooth fairy thing?"

  • Parenting Dilemma

    man sonTeddy came thundering down the stairs, much to his father's annoyance.

    "Teddy," he called, "how many more times do I have I to tell you to come downstairs quietly? Now, go back upstairs and come down like a civilized human being."

    There was a silence, and Teddy reappeared in the front room.

    "That's better," said his father. "Now in the future you will always come downstairs like that."

    "OK," said Teddy cheerily. "I slid down the railing!"

  • Parenting Progress

    child toddlerOur three year-old granddaughter, Audrey, had just been through an episode of potty training by her Mom, who expressed concerns about her slow progress.

    Audrey, somewhat tired of the process, turned to her Mother and asked:

    "Can't we forget the potty training and just be friends?"

  • Parenting, Role Models, Swearing

    class1A little boy was caught swearing by his teacher.

    "Jeffrey," she said, "you shouldn't use that kind of language. Where did you hear that?"

    "My daddy said it," he responded.

    "Well, it doesn't matter," explained the teacher. "You don't even know what it means."

    "I do so!" Jeffrey corrected. "It means the car won't start."

  • Preparing for Parenthood

    baby2Brian and Cathleen took their newborn, Emily, to meet her cousins, Erin and Savannah, in Oklahoma. The cousins were delighted with her and watched everything the adults did with Emily including changing her diapers. The girls were sitting right beside Brian the first time he changed one of Emily's messy diapers.

    When he opened her diaper he said, "Ew! She pooped!"

    Erin looked at him and asked, "Didn't they tell you she would do that?"

  • Sincerity

    table setOne summer evening, a thirteen-year-old came in while his parents were setting the table for supper. Quite surprisingly, he asked if he could help.

    His mother said, "No, but I appreciate your asking."

    The child responded, "Well, I appreciate your saying 'no'."

  • Teacher Parents

    parentingMy wife and I are teachers, and our jobs often spill over into our family life. One morning as our eight-year-old Maggie was getting ready for school, I peeked into her room to be sure she had tidied it up.

    "You call THAT a made bed?" I asked.

    No Dad," Maggie replied. "It's just a rough draft."

  • The Light Of The World

    Sunday School pageantA little boy forgot his lines in a Sunday School presentation.

    His mother, sitting in the front row to prompt him, gestured and formed the words silently with her lips, but it didn't help. Her son's memory was blank.

    Finally, she leaned forward and whispered the cue, "I am the light of the world."

    The child beamed proudly and with great feeling and a loud, clear voice said,

    "My mom is the light of the world."

    - Jesus is the Light of the world!

  • Walk a Little Plainer Daddy

    father and son2"Walk a little plainer daddy," said a little boy so frail,

    "I'm following your footsteps and I don't want to fail.

    Sometimes your steps are plain, sometimes they are hard to see;

    So walk a little plainer Daddy, for you are leading me.

    I know that once you walked this way many years ago;

  • When You Thought I Wasn't Looking

    Children are always watching the adults around them.A message every adult should read, because children are watching you and doing as you do, not as you say.

    When you thought I wasn't looking,
    I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
    and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

    When you thought I wasn't looking,
    I saw you feed a stray cat,
    and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.