PEARL BUCK wrote, ``Some are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together.'' It often takes courage to reprimand a wrong act and risk the displeasure of your child. How much easier it would be to let it all slide by. It's mother/father love that faces this unpleasant task with firmness and reason to correct and heal.
The harm that's done is when the frown and pointed finger rise in frequent irritation, annoyance over innocent acts, and pickiness over trivia.
This can whittle away at the child's confidence - not to mention the guilt feelings in the parent: ``Oh, why couldn't I have been more patient and understanding?''
One of my more gentle moments has been an inspiration to me over the years.
In need of rest one day, I was lying on the sofa in the den. Desiring privacy from the coming and going of little people in the hall, I asked my young son to put up the folding screen. It was an extra long screen and heavy.
Red faced he struggled to put it in place, when scraaaaape ... there on our freshly painted white ceiling was a deep black gouge! With a gasp and eyes round as saucers, he looked at me, waiting for the scold.
It must have been my mellowed condition, for I heard myself saying, ``That's all right, dear, now every time I look at that mark I will think of a fine young man who was helping his mother.''
A bear hug followed. Then he skipped away.
That little boy is grown now and lives in another city, and someday soon the ceiling will be painted over.
But how many times that treasured spot has served to remind me of the affection my son and I shared, and the peace I felt with myself - on the day I didn't scold.
If you would like to share a short constructive experience about family relationships, please send it with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to In the Family, Home & Family page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115. Sorry, there is no payment, and we cannot reply to submissions, which become wholly the property of the Monitor.