Devotion in Motion: Bucktoothed Babies – Unplugged

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11, NKJV

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

My late father adored his grandchildren. He thought they should have anything they wanted. Anything, that is, except a pacifier. He hated pacifiers because he’d learned a hard lesson after dealing with my older sister, Cathie, and me. He put it this way: “It’s the easiest thing in the world to give a kid a pacifier when he’s born and the hardest thing in the world to take the same pacifier away when the kid outgrows it and starts to get bucked teeth.”

Cathie and I were both pacifier addicts when we were little. And it was Daddy’s job to break our habits. He tried everything with both of us. When every other strategy failed with my sister, Dad finally succeeded with bribery. At age 3, Cathie spotted a beautiful doll in a Kroger’s grocery store, and Dad cut her a deal that he would buy her the doll if she would throw away her pacifier. She entered the agreement, and still has the doll (and is pacifier free) to this very day.

Nobody remembers what Dad went through to break me of the pacifier habit, only that it was a bad chapter in the life of our family. My mom said she thought I might have suffered through cold-turkey pacifier withdrawals after “the cat stole it”.Maybe I had to be given electroshock treatments, and that’s why I can’t remember it now. The only thing the whole family agrees on is this – when it came time to detox me from the pacifier, it was BAD.

Ironically, it was my dad who broke his grandchildren of the pacifier habit, and it was amazingly easy. I saw it happen with my younger son, Seth Madison, who was too little to talk but very attached to his pacifier.Dad looked him straight in the eye and said softly, “You don’t need that. You don’t even like it. It’s not good.” Sometimes you can see the gears turning in your kid’s head, and that’s what I saw. Seth thought carefully about the three statements that his Papaw had made and recognized that everything he had heard was truth. Then he spit out his pacifier, making the sort of noise you make when you spit a tiny piece of nutshell out of your butter pecan ice cream. As far as I can remember, it was the last time Seth ever took a pacifier.

When I think back on it, it gives me cold chills when I think about the incredible power of words. The Bible says that when God spoke words, the universe came into existence, and that Jesus is now “upholding all things by the word of His power.” (Heb. 1:3)Your words have power, too, especially in the lives of your kids. So use your words well this week. When children hear words that are true, spoken in love, from someone they love, those words have been known to move mountains. Or even greater than that – to unplug a pacifier.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” * Sing that to the tune of “Secret Agent Man.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is beginning his third decade of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi.He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 17) and Seth (age 14) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where they are currently eating a lot of fried okra and yellow squash from their parishioners’ gardens).You should drop him a line at