I was making dinner and it was almost ready. The baby was in the high chair and the other children were happily building with duplo in the playroom. I needed the table set while I finished up dinner on the stove. I knew if I called Elise or Jonas to come, they would say “OK” and quickly come get the job done. They would also ask before they went back to playing, “Is there anything else?”
Because I got crazy lucky with being given such well mannered children. Right?
Well let me finish my table setting tale.
I’d asked Jonas and Elise a lot lately and I knew all too well it was Sammy’s turn. I’d been putting it off… It’s the truth. I knew exactly what I was getting into.
“Sammy, I’d like you to come set the table tonight.”
I hear loud truck noises but no response.
I repeat, and he says “in a minute”.
I say “Now.” And give a consequence.
He’s in the kitchen.
With a whine so bad he might as well be a distant chainsaw- that just won’t quit.
“I want you to set the table with a good attitude.” I say over the whine.
Then I lay it out. “You can set the table with a good attitude. OR you can have a spank and THEN set the table. Either way your setting the table, you decide.”
The whine gets more desperate. His legs turn to jello. He’s having troubles standing. His legs become like alien tentacles wriggling around the sides of his body. His feet, flop like he’s wearing flippers in the house, with loud sluggish steps. Panting he reaches the table and tries to lift the first plate. But with a sputtering moan gravity pulls the burdensome weight back down on the the stack. He’s gasping. Now there is quick sand! sucking his body downward! his chin hits the table and is being dragged to the edge, he’s…
Made his choice.
The baby is fussing, the dinner needs to be watched or it could burn, and it’s so tempting to just throw my warning on repeat, “remember I said…”.
It’s tempting, and I’ve done it. But it will almost guarantee a repeat on this kind of help the next time I ask him.
I shut off the stove and discipline him. Enough that he’s not going to choose it a second time (hopefully). And I tell him I love him.
Because I do.
I love him enough to discipline him, to show him right from wrong. To help him to be a good person. To help him to honor authority and to do tasks with a happy heart. To train him in what is right.
My children know as I hug and forgive them for their sin that It’s because I love them that I discipline them.
Because I tell them.
I ask them, “would it be very loving of me to let you get away with [thing they did], and be a naughty child that grows up to be a bad person?”
They always say No. They don’t particularly like being around naughty kids themselves.
“I love you, so I’m going to train you and show you how to be good.” Sometimes I have to say, “I told you how to be good, but you didn’t listen.”
And they say, “but I forgot that’s what you said!”
and I tell them, “I know that’s why I showed you, to help you remember.”
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
God, our Father, out of love gives us consequences for our wrong to train and teach us for our well being. Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.~ Proverbs 3:12
So we discipline our children as well.
And because we’re Christians we believe Jesus forgives us for our sins when we ask. So we also teach the children that.
It’s dealt with, they don’t need to feel guilty. They are forgiven. This is such a precious moment for both me and the child- the set it right button if you will. (If I hadn’t gone through with disciplining them properly I would still hold annoyed feelings for them and not have this re-set, leaving things unsettled between us).
It’s a long process and a lot of diligence and hard work. I often become frustrated, lazy, and take “shortcuts” that I pay for. But the beauty of having 4 kids, is by the time you hit the third your starting to see the fruit of your labor in the first and second child- and its encouraging.
My husband Sam, and God, with his book of wisdom, are always training, equipping and helping me. So even if I may think it, I’m not doing it alone.
So Sammy did set the table, and did a good job.
He wasn’t angelic and completely reformed.
But slightly sputtering and ever so quietly moaning.
His behavior is still a work in progress.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9
My children may try my patience and sometimes it feels like too much of the same lessons over and over and over again till i want to just hit my head on a wall, and cry for sweet mercy.
But they bless me.
They are SUCH wonderful blessings.
I really enjoy
being around them.