No Time for Rebellious Children
“If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. ”
* * * * *
If a fight is what you want, a fight is what you are going to get, Bishop Akron thought as he climbed into his car. When will this boy get some sense knocked in his head?
“I’ve heard of teenagers giving their parents a hard time, but I never thought my son would be this rebellious,” Bishop Akron complained to his mentor one Sunday evening.
“Sounds like he’s smelling himself strongly,” Prophet Malcolm said.
That week, Bishop Akron’s son, Cornel, had tried him again. He once again took his father’s small car without permission. Bishop Akron’s conversation with Prophet Malcolm that previous Sunday spurred him to confront his son more directly and more forcibly. Bishop Akron followed his son to his son’s friend’s house.
“Turn the car around and drive it back home,” he told his son after he pulled into his friend’s driveway and was hurrying out of the car.
The only response Bishop Akron received was Cornel knocking frantically on his friend’s front door. The friend, Michael Stowfer, and his family were regular attendees at All Star United Church.
Not wanting to cause a scene outside the Stowfer’s house, Bishop Akron waited until his son was inside the house before exiting his car. He rang the doorbell. Mrs. Stowfer answered the door.
“Hello, Mrs. Stowfer. How are you today?” Bishop Akson said.
“Well, what a surprise. Two Akrons visiting us today. Come on in, Bishop Akron. Cornel is in the back with Michael. How is your wife doing?”
“She’s doing fine. I wish I could say I came for a social visit,” Bishop Akron said as he stepped just inside the front door. “But I’m here because of Cornel.”
Mrs. Stowfer looked puzzled. “What’s going on, Bishop?”
“I hate to bring you into our family mess, but I guess I have no choice seeing he brought it here. Anyway, he’s just starting to smell himself, if you know what I mean.”
Mrs. Stowfer smiled. “Him, too, huh? It seems to be a contagious disease that only attacks teenagers, especially teenage boys.”
“Tell me about it,” Bishop Akron said. “Anyway, he recently got his license and for some reason he thinks he should now have free access to one of my cars, driving it whenever he wills without permission from me. I told him and reiterated to him that he cannot take the car at will. I also told him that whenever I let him use the car, he must tell me exactly where he is going and when he plans on coming home, that is if I do not give him a curfew. Now, tell me this? Do you think I’m being unreasonable?”
“Of course not, Bishop,” Mrs. Stowfer said. “These boys are young, restless, and foolish acting. They lack wisdom. That is why Michael does not have access to his license right now. His father took it away from him because he took the car once without asking. You know my husband. There are some things he does not believe in giving a person a second chance in.”
“That’s what I should have done,” Bishop Akron said. “The first time he went two hours past curfew, would not answer his cell phone when I tried calling him, and when he finally got home gave me some cockamamie story about his phone being turned off to preserve power. The last thing I told him before he left was to keep his phone turned on in case of an emergency. Then when I asked him what took him so long, he produced another cockamamie story claiming he lost track of the time. I said, aren’t you wearing a watch? Isn’t there a clock in the car? He could not answer.”
“They just can’t see the light right now. They lack understanding and seem to think they know everything and we, their parents, know nothing,” Mrs. Stowfer said. “My husband keeps telling Michael the Bible says ‘hear ye children the instruction of your father and mother’ and it will fare well with you. Then he always adds, ‘and that’s wisdom, my boy.’ I mean, they actually think we are stupid not realizing that we have been there and done whatever it is they are thinking of doing.”
“Amen to that,” Bishop Akron said. “Cornel actually thinks because I’m a pastor my head is always in the Bible and I do not know what is going on especially among the youths.”
“I had to remind my daughter of that,” Mrs. Stowfer said.
“Well, he took the car another time without permission claiming he had to make a quick run to the corner store. He had no answer when I asked him why he didn’t call me and just ask me if he could use the car,” Bishop Akron said. “I mean, he can use the car ninety percent of the time; it’s just sitting in the driveway. I only drive it every now and then to keep it revved up. Cornel doesn’t know this, but I was going to let him have the car, but he’s proving to be untrustworthy so he’s losing out on a good thing.”
Mrs. Stowfer nodded her head then she yelled, “Cornel, get out here right now. Your father wants you.”
Cornel shuffled out into the living room. Stubbornness was etched into his face.
“Give me the key now. You can go out with your friends but not with my car that you stole,” Bishop Akron said.
“I did not steal the car,” Cornel said.
“What do you call what you did? You took my car without permission when I explicitly told you you must ask to use it. All you had to do was ask. When I tried to stop you, you sped off totally ignoring me, risking the police stopping you because you were breaking the speed limit thinking you could just zoom off and I was not going to follow you. You had better be glad the police did not stop you because I would have told them you stole my car,” Bishop Akron said.
“I did not steal your car. Correction: I borrowed it,” Cornel said.
“You ‘borrowed’ it against my will and that’s called stealing. Next time, if there is a next time, but next time you steal my car, I’m just going to report it to the police,” Bishop Akron said, stretching his hand out. “Now, give me the key.”
Cornel did not move.
“Look, you are in Mrs. Stowfer’s house. I’m sure she would like to go on with her day. Give me the car keys so we can get out of her house.”
Mrs. Stowfer cleared her throat. Michael who had walked into the living room said, “Cornel, just give him the key, man. You’re not going to win.”
Cornel shoved his hand into his right front pants pocket. He clenched the key without taking his eyes off of his father. The muscles in his face tensed. He finally gave in and threw the key at his father. Bishop Akron stepped aside letting the key fall to the ground.
“Pick it up, now! You don’t throw anything at me, boy,” he said.
Cornel stood still but eventually conceded. Snatching up the key he dropped it into his father’s hand.
“Mrs. Stowfer, if you don’t mind, do not give him a ride home. Maybe a thirty minute walk in the sun will burn some sense into his head. Forgive me for disturbing you with our problem.”
“Think nothing of it Bishop. I’m with you. It is something all parents go through at varying degrees. We love you, Bishop Akron. You have a great evening,” Mrs. Stowfer said.
“You have a great day, too, Mrs. Stowfer. If you don’t mind, I’ll need to leave the car parked here until I can get either my wife or one of my assistants to ride back with me to take it back to my place,” Bishop Akron said. Then turning to his son he said, “Cornel, you might want to huff it home before the sun goes down.”
Bishop Akron walked out, locked the car doors, and headed home.