Discipline is Difficult for Everyone [Choosing Joy]
“I’m sorry!” my son cried, “Please let me go to Grandma’s after school tomorrow.”
Thursdays are special at our house because these are the afternoons when Grandma lets the kids ride the bus to her house to play for a couple hours. My children live for Thursdays and are thoroughly disappointed if Grandma ever has to change these plans.
It occurred on a Wednesday night that my son was having trouble obeying the decree to get ready for bed. After badgering a couple times I gave a very serious warning, “If you are not in your pajamas by the time that I return, you will lose five minutes of lamp time.” Satisfied that my threat was sufficient, I turned to head down the hallway. As soon as I was out of sight, I heard my precious son mutter defiantly, “I’ll just open my curtain and read by the street light then.”
Like a startled cat, I spun around and pounced back into his bedroom. “Just for that comment, you will be coming home after school tomorrow while your sister goes to Grandma’s house.” Immediately a fit commenced and that night we both went to bed feeling lousy. I wrestled with my choice of consequences because I know how important time with Grandma is to my son and I knew that I was forfeiting an afternoon of free time for myself, but I also wanted him to know that his behavior was unacceptable.
The next morning my son continued to plead with me to retract my sentencing and as he rushed to catch the bus he called over his shoulder, “If you change your mind, you can call the school and tell them to take me to Grandma’s!” However, I decided to stick to my word and despite his sad face as he got off the bus at our home, he accepted his consequences and was quickly back to is sweet, happy self.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful [for the one doing the disciplining and the one being disciplined]. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
Last week I retold the story of King David’s punishment from God in 2 Samuel 12. Obviously, the disrespect shown by my son and the removal of a privilege are small things in comparison to the seriousness of David's sins and the severity of God's punishment upon him However, I do feel that just as God had to stick to His promise of punishment despite David’s weeping, parents have to be true to their word as well. Our children will have any easier time learning to respect and obey God, if we, as their earthly authorities, are trustworthy, especially in our discipline. And so far, it has been my experience that once the punishment is complete, my kids continue loving me just as David continued to love and worship God.