Sunday, April 3, 2011
Last week it was Safety Guy under the stern eye of parental discipline. This weekend it's PrincessYakyak. Either way, it's not fun for anyone involved, but I'm hopeful that this weekend's lesson was well learned.
PYY did something she has been asked not to do, many times, starting a number of years ago - using too much toilet paper (half a roll too much). Yes, it was an accident this time, but a totally preventable one (one that a little common sense would have prevented), and one which caused quite a bit of mess and hassle for her father and I to clean up and fix. Adding to her difficulty, she copped an attitude over the situation, being rude and insulting to me and to her father when confronted. The verdict: grounded for today, with no friends over, no TV, no computer, no Wii - in short, a very long day without her usual comforts. Oh, the drama! We were the worst parents ever, she didn't love us any more because we didn't love her, and she wanted to be put up for adoption immediately.
She was in a state all over again this morning, grudge going strong, still mad at us, so her Dad and her brother went to Sunday school without us, and we followed later. She was full of good questions for me in the car, like, "Why don't you discipline my brother the same way you do me?" (The answer was that they are different people, and respond to different methods of discipline sometimes. And yes, we DO discipline her brother - she just doesn't have to know about every incident all the time.) We talked about kids in her school who don't have good behavior, and I asked her whether or not she thought they were showing respect for their teachers, friends and parents. Did she think they had good discipline at home? What would happen if their parents never disciplined them, or her teacher let them get away with their behavior? Would it be love to let them do whatever they wanted all the time, or love to teach them the boundaries of civil behavior? We sat at the back of the church since we'd missed half of Sunday school and just talked about her questions quietly. After a bit of looking (alas, my Scripture memory failed me at this point - I knew the verse but couldn't find it's location right away), I was able to share Hebrews 12:5-11 with her:
And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 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.
That's a hard lesson for us to learn, both as kids and as adults. She was receptive to the message, and seemed to accept it at face value. Hopefully she'll remember some of what we discussed the next time we have to discipline her - or her brother.