The Training of Johnny Deal

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Volume III, Issue 1
Spring 1995
The Training of Johnny Deal
Richard Bachert

O Theophilus is the Quarterly Journal of The Center For Biblical Literacy



The Training of Johnny Deal

Ten year old Johnny Deal was in big, big trouble! Kept after school, his mom had been called to Arlington’s PS 666 to pick him up and talk to the principal. During the incredibly long trip home, his mom kept repeating “Wait ’til your father gets home….”

Johnny’s dad, Congressman William “Shady” Deal, arrived home just before his son’s 9:30 bedtime. Johnny could hear their hushed conversation in the living room, and when Dad finally strode into the den, where Johnny watched the last few minutes of “The Simpsons,” the look on his face told Johnny that he was in every bit as much trouble as Mom said he was. Dad flipped off the set. Wearily plopping onto the couch next to his son, Bill Deal stared into space for a long time before speaking.

“OK. Your mom told me what the teacher said. Now I want to hear your version.”

Johnny nervously glanced from the floor toward his father.

“Well…er…Dad, I was kept after school for talking in class and…well…the teacher’s purse was sort of…er…just there…on her desk and all. And it was open. And when she went out of the room I sort of…uhh…just glanced into it and, Dad, there was this twenty dollar bill just sort of there…you know, on top and all…so I reached in and grabbed it.”

Bill Deal listened impassively.

“When she came back into the room, she went right to the purse and noticed the money was gone. And when she asked me if I’d seen her money, I…uh….told…her…”

“Go on son. What did you tell her?”, Deal asked.

Johnny took a deep, deep breath, then: “ItoldherthatItookitandIwasreallysorryandIknewIshouldn’thaveandI’m sorryand…” The words rushed out in an unbroken torrent as the already high pitch of the young boy’s voice went higher still. He began to cry and literally hurled himself at his father’s chest. Bill Deal resignedly held his sobbing son until the trembling lad stopped shaking. Drying his tears with a handkerchief, Bill Deal slid the boy from his lap and, with the sternest face he could muster, he turned to face his red-eyed son.

Just outside the door to the den, Mrs. Deal, wiping her dishwater soaked hands on her housecoat, listened intently for the words of reproach and admonition she believed would soon be spoken by her husband.

In his very best C-SPAN, House debate voice, Bill Deal began:

“Well, son, you made two errors today, didn’t you. Let’s review them to be certain you will learn from them.

“First, you shouldn’t have been caught talking in class, right?”

“Right!”, Johnny answered. “I shouldn’t have talked in class.”

“Not quite son. Your mistake was getting caught talking in class. If you hadn’t been caught talking in class, you wouldn’t have been made to stay after class, right?”

“Right, Dad!”

“OK, then what was the second in australia thing you did wrong today?”

“I shouldn’t have taken the teacher’s money, right?”

“Close, but no cigar, John. Once again, your mistake was admitting to taking the money. Son, the first two things you learn in politics is that you do everything you can to keep from getting caught in a bad situation and, second, when someone accuses you of something, deny it! Never admit to anything, Johnnever!”

Mrs. Deal slumped against the wall as she heard the “fatherly advice” her husband had just given her son!

“OK, Dad.”

“Now run along to bed. I have some House Post Office paperwork to do tonight.”

“G’night Dad. And thanks!”

Crazy for a father to give that sort of “advice” to his ten year old son? In a perverse way, maybe Bill Deal was simply being honest about the way today’s real world works. And perhaps Mrs. Deal’s reaction to her husband’s words were an anachronistic manifestation of a system of ethics now deada vestige of the morality of some bygone era.

America has just come through a period (some would argue that we are still mired in it) notorious for such slogans as “If it feels good, do it!” and ” you only go around once, so get all the gusto!” That generation, the generation of immediate gratification, has honed hedonism into an art form. Those same folks are now at the very center of power in America. That probably explains why much of modern, sophisticated America rejects anything not of the here and now. Years ago TV’s Reverend Ike coined a phrase which covers it very neatly: “No pie in the sky by and by”. For many, God is not of the here and now. We see no need for Him, and easily forget, Him!

In an America hell bent on the pursuit of personal comfort and affluence does “ethics” still mean a system or code of morals of a particular person or society, or does it now stand for Every Thing Humanistic Is Considered Satisfactory?

And in an America on the eve of the 21st century, does “moral” mean the capacity to differentiate between right and wrong under God’s Law, or does it now stand for “Man Outside the Rule of an Awesome and Loving Sovereign”?

Some of us know the answers to those questions now. The rest may have to wait until Judgment Day!




Richard Bachert is a self employed independent sales contractor in Atlanta, GA. He is an experienced radio talk show host and commentator, presently featured on the WNIV AM “Sunrise Saturday” program. Mr. Bachert has also been a frequently published writer in the Atlanta Journal/Constitution. His article, “Time For A National Sales Tax” was recently published in the Conservative Review, Washington, DC.



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