Oct 24, 2008

Discipline

This morning Bennett and I had a little issue of deception we needed to get straight. He's been trying to play the deception/sneaky card on us quite a bit in the past few weeks and I'd about had it. Of course this morning's issue was minor, but it was the heart issue that mattered most to me. I stopped what I was doing and went to talk to Chuck.

I didn't want to react to the behavior (which my angry outbursts typically do). Those outbursts may curb the number of times such behavior is done in my presence for a short while, but it never gets to the heart of the matter. Chuck was not a part of this morning's scuffle, so he wasn't emotionally involved and could most likely think more clearly than I. I needed a discipline and I needed one fast.

We agreed that he needed a reality based discipline, but in this particular case, that wasn't going to reach his heart and change the sneaky patterns he thinks he's getting away with. We decided to see what the book "Creative Correction" had to offer. We've used this book several times in the past and it has seemed to give us many good ideas. I did't want to just resort to a spanking (which in most cases don't work) or a time out (which also has zero effect). Writing "I will not be sneaky" 100 times would take him all day and give him a hatred for writing. What was I to do?

I looked up 'deception' in the index of this book, it led me to the story of Jacob, Esau and Issac in the Bible. "Perfect" I thought, "I'll sit them all down and read a story to them. That will get their attention." So, that's exactly what I did. They were all dumbfounded by the story, even more so by the consequences Jacob and his Mom (Rachel) had to live with after seemingly 'getting away with it'. Bennett was solemn faced the entire time. This was the first time he didn't argue back with me when I was trying to point out something he did that was wrong. He usually plays the victim quite well and is able to lie the blame at someone else's feet. But this time he saw that deception is like lying with your actions instead of your words. He was heart broken. We finished the story, prayed and went on with our school work for the day as if nothing ever happened. Part of his school today was to blog. I didn't give him a topic. He just blogged what was on his heart. This was it.

I had tears in my eyes as I read it. I saw repentance all over it. As I was reading it, Psalm 51 came to mind. You know, the one where David is so repentant over his sin...so he runs to God. He knows he's at His mercy. That's how I saw Bennett in his blog.

I guess this discipline actually worked (this time). I looked up the definition of discipline and this is what dictionary.com says: Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.

I wish I would remember more often that discipline is training. Not hitting. Not berating. Not guilt-tripping. Not embarrassment. Not shaming. Not condemning. Not yelling. Love is what produces change. Anger breeds resentment. Love softens the heart. Love should be at the center of all our discipline, every time. I'm sorry to admit that too often, anger is. Consequences might hurt or be yucky - but the discipline, the training of the heart, doesn't have to be.
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3 comments:

Kate said...

Wow, I think I better get that book. You are such great parenting examples to us!

Katrina said...

Wow...I feel really convicted by your comments about training being at the heart of discipline. That is something I need to meditate on and become better at. So often I am just concerned with the behavior of the moment instead of the heart behind it. Thank you for posting this.

Heather said...

You, my friend, are an amazing mother. I know you will deny it, but I stand by my comment. So there.

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