Wednesday February 14, 2007
Hartsville News Journal
Page 2C
"Do we “stop look & listen”?"

As a student school bus driver in the mid fifty’s my instructor, P.C. Evans, taught me to “Stop” at all railroad crossings and observe the displayed words “Stop, Look, and Listen”. These instructions were necessary for they saved lives and they will also benefit us parents today if we apply them to the hefty responsibility we face in raising our children.

I recently attended my 50th Hartsville High School class reunion with my wife and our daughter, Axia, who will be a senior this year. It’s no surprise that I find myself reminiscing back to my teens. Those were important years and foremost in my mind is the important role that my parents and school teachers played in my personal development.

Television was scarce in the fifty’s and it was considered a privilege to have a telephone to use. This shortage of technology served to force us students to improvise and to be more creative. There were no fast food franchises’ in those days. We gathered at car-hop places like the Rainbow, Ruth’s Drive-in and the “Pig”…yes the Dixie Pig where we could enjoy a burger and a shake with our friends and for a nickel more there was Fats Domino on the juke box. We lived life at a slower pace then and as I look back, I see the quality this added to all our lives.

This leads us to the “Stop” portion of our article as we journey back to the days when our teachers paid a lot of attention to classroom behavior. My elementary school years were all spent at the Bethel Schoolhouse on Bethel road where our principal, Mrs. Hawkins, paid a lot of attention to her students. She possessed a leather strap that hung in the teacher’s cloakroom and when necessary she used it to maintain classroom order. Her disciplinary measures worked very well as we students discovered that we were loved just as much at school as we were at home. Her use of discipline was perceived by us as love and I assure you…there was nothing wrong with our perception.

At home my mom would often “Stop” and talk to me as she always seemed to know when I needed her attention. I remember most of those talks for they had the tendency of nipping things in the bud; mom never allowed my problems to fester.

Children would benefit today if we introduced them to a slow down, a slow down that would lead to less internet, less television and more quality time with their parents. This kind of action might be just what the doctor ordered; it would serve the dual purpose of injecting quality time into their lives while preparing them for the high tech world of tomorrow.

Our Heavenly Father also wants us to “Stop” for a moment and allow ourselves time to discover the benefits of patience. We should also “Stop” to include the comfort that God’s Word brings into our lives; Romans 15:4 KJV is where scripture brings this to our attention:

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through


patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Churches, teachers and we parents are key players in establishing this pathway of hope that will steer today’s students towards reaching their potential. They have to be taught to “Look” for that train of opportunity and our job is to lead the way.

This foundation for success requires that we include God at every stage of the process; He will send our Comforter who will assist us in meeting our responsibilities. John 14:26 KJV illustrates this point.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

God sends our Comforter the Holy Spirit who will accompany us every time that we seek His presence. When we “Look” through our spiritual eyes we see God and it really makes His day when we choose to include Him. We’re all aware that praying is simply a matter of talking to God and He responds by sending our Comforter to us. Sharing our needs with God leads to good results…results that will boost our confidence. When we “Look” for God we find Him; He’s always available!

Once we’ve mastered the “Stop” and “Look” portions of our formula we then prepare ourselves for the responsibility we have to “Listen”. By listening we place ourselves in a position to assist because our children will expose their needs. Perhaps God was sending us a message when He gave us two ears and only one mouth; James 1:19 KJV is where God stresses the point that listening is a priority:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

God is teaching us to listen carefully and to think things through before jumping in with a solution. Proverbs 1:5 KJV adds clarity to this point:

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

Our children depend on us to provide them wise council and to teach them to “Stop” and think before they act. We must also teach them to “Look” for the best course before they become committed. Finally, they learn to “Listen” by observing how much they benefited when we listened to them.

How often do we talk to our children? Do we listen to them when they describe their needs and do we seek to include God’s help in fulfilling this responsibility?

God lights the way for us to “Stop Look and Listen”. As parents, our job is to set the example and give our children something worthwhile to emulate!


Pastor Billy Johnson can be reached by email at or viewed online at