Not only did the children I cared in my Family Medicine Practice in Kissimmee, Florida, keep me young — so did some of my early experiences as a parent. I hope you will enjoy a few stories about these “Little Ones” (Part 5) that are excerpted from my book, The Best Medicine: Tales of Humor and Hope from a Small-Town Doctor.
At home, my wife, Barb, and I found out we didn’t know as much about caring for our children as we first thought. Kate, our oldest, was our compliant child. Raising her made us feel like the most competent and equipped parents in history. I thought I should write Dr. James Dobson at Focus on the Family, as he was called America’s Foremost Family Counselor, and suggest he have Barb and me on his nationally syndicated radio program so we could teach others our amazing skills.
Then, along came Scott. Independent, strong- willed, autonomous, free-spirited. I remember the day I first recognized his iron-willed side while we were still living in North Carolina. I was watching a football game on our brand-new console TV. Those were cathode- ray tube televisions contained in a wooden cabinet that looked like furniture.
Scott, wearing only a diaper, began to crawl over to the TV. He pulled himself up to a standing position and reached for the
on-off button. As he did, he turned to face me.
“Don’t turn it off,” I warned.
His hand reached closer to the knob.
“Son, I will not tell you again. Don’t you dare.”
He smiled, I think it may have been a spiteful grin if such a thing is possible in a toddler, swung his hand, and punched the knob off. He looked back with a defiant look as if to say, “What are you going to do about that?”
Bold-faced defiance of authority? Well, we had a brief discussion followed by a short session of discipline. As he cried, I scooped him up on my lap. “I love you, son. Nothing you can do can make me love you less. But when you are deliberately disobedient with either your mother or me, there will be consequences. Understand?”
He nodded, and I gave him a hug and a kiss.
On another Saturday, this time in Kissimmee, I was again watching a football game on TV. The doorbell rang, and Scott ran from his room, yelling, “I’ll get it.” He ran to the door, looked out through the sidelight, and said, “No need to get that. It’s nothing.”
The doorbell rang again.
“It’s no one!” he exclaimed, pressing his back to the door.
Curious and suspicious, I walked to the door and opened it. There, to my surprise, stood Officer Gib Michaels, his cruiser parked in the driveway.
“Dr. Larimore, did someone call 9-1-1?” he asked.
“It wasn’t me!” Scott said.
Gib seemed amused and knelt. “Then that someone hung up on the 9-1-1 operator without saying a word. They sent me to investigate. Is there any problem here, sir?”
Barb walked up behind me.
“Ma’am, any problem?”
“There may be, Officer.” She looked at Scott. “Scott, did you call 9-1-1?”
Scott looked down, in noticeable embarrassment. He nodded.
Gib smiled and stood. “Dr. and Mrs. Larimore, I’ll take Scott to the cruiser and talk with him. Would that be okay? It won’t take long.”
Barb and I both nodded. Scott whimpered as Gib led him away.
We watched as Gib sat Scott in the driver’s seat of the cruiser and knelt next to him. !ey spoke for a few minutes. He had Scott
put on his hat, talk into the radio, and even turn on the flashing lights. Scott hopped out of the car and stood at attention. Office
Michaels placed something on his shirt and also stood at attention as he and Scott saluted each other. !ey walked back to the house.
Scott exclaimed, “Look, Dad! I’ve got a badge. I’m an official junior City of Kissimmee policeman!”
“Doc,” Gib explained. “We had a heart-to-heart. I think your son understands what he did wrong. I don’t think I’ll need to arrest him or take him to the lockup. After talking to him, we radioed into dispatch, and he apologized to our dispatch officer and promised not to disturb them with a prank call in the future. Right, Scott?”
Scott saluted. “Yes, sir!”
“Furthermore, I’ve commissioned him a junior officer with the Kissimmee Police Department.”
“Are you sure he’s qualified after this crime?” I asked.
“Yes, sir,” Gib said. “I think he’s both repentant and rehabilitated.
I think he’ll be a fine representative of our department.” He looked down. “You won’t let me down, will you, Scott?”
“Thanks, Officer,” I said.
He smiled ear to ear. “This makes my day, Doc!”
“Ours too,” Barb said.
THESE STORIES ARE EXCERPTED, with the permission of Baker Publishing Group from/Revell, from my book, The Best Gift: Tales of a Small-Town Doctor Learning Life’s Greatest Lessons. You can learn more about the book or order a copy here.
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