It is funny. I have had a lot going on since I last wrote, that includes as of this morning, losing my engagement ring to the garbage disposal. Needless to say I was devastated. First it was the week old new Apple Watch that is swimming with the fishes; now it is the 14 year old engagement ring that I will not be able to pass to one of my son's future brides. Through tears and pain at the sentimental loss of my ring I can still find the bottom line of this weeks post. I can still remember last week's post about finding joy in things other then the Lord, and the danger that holds. So I press on, but I will tell you what, Briseis is getting some serious life lessons on why you don't want to get too attached to things of this world!
This week I have been focusing on the mistakes we make, the mistakes our children make. I have been watching and observing. I have been listening and processing. Earlier this week I saw two brothers walking into VBS. They were probably about 9 and 11. The younger was so excited to be going to VBS with his brother and went to give him a side hug as they were walking. My heart broke as I watched the older one shove his brother off and tell him not to touch him with annoyance and venom in his words. The mother either did not care to notice it or was so engulfed in her phone or something she didn't see. In that moment all I wanted to do was go up to that boy and give him a hug... and scold his brother and make him apologize. I hurt for the younger brother.
But you know what mom? I see my children doing the same thing. I see them act nasty to their sibling even when one is trying to be loving and I HATE IT! I'm sure you empathize with me on this if you have more then one child. Heck! If your child has a friend that has ever done something like that you empathize. I hate myself when I am too lazy to do anything about it because I have been the referee all day. Sadly, that is life and though as mothers we try to teach our children how to behave and how to act they will ALWAYS miss the mark at times.
The other day I was in the car listening to a talk show. The guy was talking about consequences for our children and how a lot of parents today are over punishing their children. Funny, looks like we have gone to no discipline all the way back to over disciplining. The balance of life is always fluctuating from one side to the other trying to reach that balance. Anyway, back on topic. The speaker was explaining that as parents our job is to teach our children through example and our own testimony. So often, when our children mess up we are so quick to punish with our own consequence (usually out of anger) that we don't even think about the natural consequences that will happen. Then when those consequences finally come we say nasty remarks to our children like, "Serves you right", "Told you that would happen", "Maybe next time you'll listen". All we are doing is adding insult to injury. Let me give you an example, you child is not studying for a big test they know is coming up. You have reminded them numerous times that they need to. The day of the big test comes and naturally they fail. You ground them for a month from driving, video games, friends, pretty much everything except studying. Once your punishment is finished you child is told by his teacher that because of his low grade he will have to go to summer school which will make him miss out on a trip to, we will say Universal. When they tell you this you respond with one of the above remarks. So now, for a mistake they made they have had your consequence, the natural consequence as well as a remark that does not show love. Next time something similar happens your child may even try to start lying to make you think all is well as to avoid added consequences and snide remarks. The natural consequence will still happen but you have lost your child's trust to be just.
There are natural consequence that always follow mistakes we make. They may not happen right away, but they will always show up. Our God is loving, but He is also just. He pleads with us to listen just as we plead with our children to listen. The brothers? They could very well grow up not having a relationship. I for one do not want that for my children, when I am gone I want to know they have each other's backs. By giving my testimony of how I loved my siblings and how I didn't, I teach my children about the natural consequences that can happen. By talking to them and loving them when they do make mistakes they understand and will appreciate me a lot more when there is a consequence I have to give them. Briseis is in a phase currently with hitting her brother when he upsets her. I have told her about when that happened to me and how I dealt with it. When it became persistent then she was warned that she would have to do a writing if it happened again. When that time came I did have to enforce a consequence, one she knew was coming if her actions continued. But I didn't lash out with a punishment to blind side her. I didn't say harsh words when her brother finally hit her back. Slowly she is learning how to respond in a loving way to him when she needs a break. I am also learning of how to treat and, especially, talk to my children; in a way that I won't fear the natural consequence of them not wanting a relationship with me when they are older.
So the next time the anger builds up and you want to lash out at your children for a mistake they made, stop to consider what the natural consequence will be. Think back to if you were ever in the same situation and share with them what happened to you. Love on them and pray for them that they learned from the mistake. And if it becomes a repeat mistake explain to them before hand what the consequence will have to be, doing it out of love and not anger. Because at the end of the day Lance yelling at me for turning on the garbage disposal would have only added insult to injury. But because Lance loves me and knew the natural consequence was breaking my heart already there was no need for added hurtful comments. Instead he hugged me and reassured me and knew that I would NEVER EVER turn on the garbage disposal again without checking to know where my rings were.
Fathers, do not provoke your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord ~