Household Principles for Children from the Old Testament
Lamentations of the Father by Ian Frazier
Laws of Forbidden Places
Of the beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of all foods
that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not in the living room. Of
the hoofed animals, broiled or ground into burgers, you may eat, but not in
the living room. Of the cloven-hoofed animal, plain or with cheese, you may
eat, but not in the living room. Of the cereal grains, of the corn and of
the wheat and of the oats, and of all the cereals that are of bright color
and unknown provenance you may eat, but not in the living room. Of
quiescently frozen dessert and of all frozen after-meal treats you may eat,
but absolutely not in the living room.
Of the juices and other beverages, yes, even of those in sippy-cups, you
may drink, but not in the living room, neither may you carry such therein.
Indeed, when you reach the place where the living room carpet begins, of
any food or beverage there you may not eat, neither may you drink. But if
you are sick, and are lying down and watching something, then may you eat
in the living room.
Laws When at Table
And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as a greater
person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as they were. Neither
raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an
abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an interesting bandage to show,
your feet upon the table are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke.
Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use on it any utensils, nor
fork, nor knife, nor spoon, for that is not what they are for; if you will
dip your blocks in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away.
When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, and do
not bite it upon its edge and by your teeth hold it to your face in order
to make noises in it sounding like a duck: for you will be sent away.
When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have swallowed,
and do not open it to show your brother or your sister what is within; I
say to you, do not so, even if your brother or your sister has done the
same to you.
Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food; neither seize the
table between your jaws, nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your
lips. I say again to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is.
And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not
with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is
why. And though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not
stand them upright to make a forest, because we do not do that,that is why.
Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor
slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit like
that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have
said, it has come to pass.
Laws Pertaining to Dessert
For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that is clean,
saying first, if the plate is clean, then you shall have dessert.
But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have eaten most of
your meat, and two bites of your peas with each bite consisting of not less
than three peas each, or in total six peas, eaten where I can see, and you
have also eaten enough of your potatoes to fill two forks, both forkfuls
eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert.
But if you eat a lesser number of peas, and yet you eat the potatoes, still
you shall not have dessert; and if you eat the peas, yet leave the potatoes
uneaten, you shall not have dessert, no, not even a small portion thereof.
And if you try to deceive by moving the potatoes or peas around with a
fork, that it may appear you have eaten what you have not, you will fall
into iniquity. And I will know, and you shall have no dessert.
Do not scream; for it is as if you scream all the time. If you are given a
plate on which two foods you do not wish to touch each other are touching
each other, your voice rises up even to the ceiling, while you point to the
offense with the finger of your right hand; but I say to you, scream not,
only remonstrate gently with the server, that the server may correct the
Likewise if you receive a portion of fish from which every piece of herbal
seasoning has not been scraped off, and the herbal seasoning is loathsome
to you and steeped in vileness, again I say, refrain from screaming. Though
the vileness overwhelm you, and cause you a faint unto death, make not that
sound from within your throat, neither cover your face, nor press your
fingers to your nose. For even I have made the fish as it should be;
behold, I eat it myself, yet do not die.
Concerning Face and Hands
Cast your countenance upward to the light, and lift your eyes to the hills,
that I may more easily wash you off. For the stains are upon you; even to
the very back of your head, there is rice thereon.
And in the breast pocket of your garment, and upon the tie of your shoe,
rice and other fragments are distributed in a manner wonderful to see.
Only hold yourself still; hold still, I say. Give each finger in its turn
for my examination thereof, and also each thumb. Lo, how iniquitous they
appear. What I do is as it must be; and you shall not go hence until I have
Various Other Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances
Bite not, lest you be cast into quiet time. Neither drink of your own bath
water, nor of the bath water of any kind; nor rub your feet on bread, even
if it be in the package; nor rub yourself against cars, not against any
building; nor eat sand.
Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict
it with tape? And hum not the humming in your nose as I read, nor stand
between the light and the book. Indeed, you will drive me to madness. Nor
forget what I said about the tape.