Ten Ways to Make a Delinquent (Guaranteed to Work!)

The police department of Houston, Texas, gave the following ten rules for raising delinquent children.

1. Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living.

2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think he is cute. It will also encourage him to pick up “gutter” phrases that will blow the top off your head later.

3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is twenty-one and then let him “decide for himself”.

A teenager’s nightmare? Sr. Maria Philomena in now-retired-Lieutenant (NH State Trooper) Kelly’s cruiser. (Sister adds: The funny thing is that I was surprised that the cruiser was the size of a normal car! I’m 5’9″, but somehow I expected the car to be too big. Heroes still loom large! My students took this picture in 2004.)

4. Avoid use of the word WRONG. It may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him and he is being persecuted.

5. Pick up everything he leaves lying around — books, shoes, toys and clothes. Do everything for him so that he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility on others.

6. Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feast on garbage.

7. Quarrel frequently in his presence. In this way he will not be shocked when the home is broken up later.

8. Give a child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you had them?

9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink, and comfort. Denial may lead to harmful frustrations.

10. Take his part against neighbors, teachers, policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.

  • The_Z_Man

    Bravo to you Sister!

  • Jack Browder

    This list should be carved in stone and place in the common areas of every school in America. It should be taught to every child and every teacher. Prospective teachers should be made to memorize it and repeat it by rote before they receive their teaching license. It should be recited in every home room right after the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Only then will we begin to turn around the current trend of creating spoiled, irresponsible, whiny, me-only-oriented brats who grow into the same kind of “adults.”

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  • Jack

    Does Sister have any advice for those who were raised according to the ten ways, managed somehow to stumble into the Church and wish to reform themselves?

  • Dear Jack,

    Half the battle is recognizing your weaknesses. With grace, any hurdle can be overcome. So a quick recommendation: attend Mass, receive the Sacraments regularly, and PRAY to Our Lady (in Her Rosary), asking for the necessary help. Then, make a good examination of conscience to find what your predominate fault(s) are. Usually our weakness can be traced one of the seven deadly sins (of which Pride is the root).

    Once you know what vice (bad habit, fault, weakness) you need to start with, eliminate the occasions of sin and give yourself a goal of practicing the opposite virtue a certain number of times in a day. If the vice is gluttony (lacking restraint in eating and drinking), then a resolution not to take seconds, or not to eat between meals, or perhaps to avoid the alcohol except for one glass of wine at meals, etc. would be a good starting point.

    A person who has not been trained in self-discipline (according to the “rules” above) will likely have more trouble with selfishness and a strong wayward will. (I think it was St. Teresa who said that self-will dies fifteen minutes after we do — everyone must fight this primary enemy.) It is necessary to start training the will to follow the intellect and not the passions. Picking things to deny oneself is a good start, but it is important not to forget the greater value of DOING positive things (that one may not want to do!). In fact, it is even better if you can get someone to tell you to do or not to do things (very galling to pride!). Example: religious superiors, spiritual director, spouse, friend . . .

    It is the Christmas season. We see Almighty God made LITTLE for us. How helpless He is! How dependent on His mother! How little are His likes expressed! Unless we become as little children . . .

    May Our Lady bless you with Her Infant Son!