“Sing a Song of Discipline,” Ensign, June 1977, 62
It happened one day as I found myself yelling and threatening the children for the umpteenth time—with no positive results. The children, ages 3 and 4, had become mother-deaf; and I, the mother, was frustrated with the idea of teaching kindness and love when I felt neither. There had to be an answer to my dilemma. But what?
That afternoon as I prepared the songs for Primary singing time, I thought of how much my own mother had sung as she worked around the house when I was growing up. It made my childhood home such a happy place—quite a contrast to the mood of my own home at the present time. Then the impression came to me that maybe my calling as Primary chorister could help with the problem of disciplining the children.
The next time the children started quarreling, I fought back an urge to get angry and started singing, “Jesus said love everyone; treat them kindly, too. When your heart is filled with love, others will love you.” Both children stopped quarreling and looked up in happy surprise. Mother was singing!
From then on it seemed that minor disputes could be handled with songs. “Kindness Begins with Me,” “Be Happy, Sings the Little Bird,” “Beautiful Words of Love,” and many other songs found their way into our lives. When neighbor children would begin a quarrel, I could hear our three-year-old start to sing, “I Want to Be Kind to Everyone,” and I knew that a positive attitude was forming in our home. And besides that, the children knew more Primary songs than ever before!
The high point of the experience came one day as a neighbor child was playing at our house and became upset with our children. He jumped up from the circle of play, pointed his finger at them, and broke into the song, “Little Bunny Foo Foo, I don’t like your attitude.” Here was a new song to be learned, and the quarrel was over.
There are still times when talking has to be done, but young children seem to respond better to songs. You’ve heard the saying, “A stitch in time saves nine”; in our home, we have found that “A song in time saves a lot of quarreling.” Margery A. Small, Brigham City, Utah