November 24, 2010

Two Stories on Discipline & Consequences: Part 1 - Elizabeth

Story #1:

Elizabeth loves the show How It's Made.  It is quite fun, seeing how the things we use come into existence: where machines are used in the process, what the machines are like, and how many things are still done manually (A LOT!)  But this post is not about that, it's about disobedience and letting natural consequences teach a lesson.

We were watching one evening, E, B, and I.  I was snuggled up with Brian on one end of the couch.  Elizabeth was on the other.  The first segment was coming to a close and I was interested in listening to the end.

Elizabeth pipes up, "Mommy, when this part ..."

I cut her off, "Let me hear the end of this and then you can talk."

"But, just let me say it, Mom."

"Elizabeth, it's just about over, you may talk then."

"But, it's short, I'll say it fast. I just want you to come sit with me after this part."

I turned off the tv.  That was the end of How It's Made for that day.

Why?  Well, because Elizabeth has gotten into a pattern of doing this with us, not waiting to speak when we ask her to wait, and she was being disobedient when asked to stop talking for a moment.  If I don't teach her to listen to authority, who will?  My request was not unreasonable, there was very little time left.  She needed to simply wait.

Learning to wait is not easy, but I want to help her learn to wait.  This was a great opportunity.

She almost burst into tears.  Almost.  But as I talked with her about how she would not be watching the rest of How It's Made that night, I could see her little mind understanding that it was right, that mommy wasn't mad*, just instructing and training, and that she'd made a poor choice in not waiting.

Let me tell you, it broke my heart to see that sadness in her face.  I desperately wanted to turn that tv back on and let her watch.  I believe, however, that would have negated the growing-up moment for her.  While she bounced along to something else to do before bed, I was left thinking about how challenging this parenting thing is, when we know we're doing good for our kids, but it means they need to suffer a little in the process.  Reminds me of Hebrews 12:11  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.

There are tough moments in this calling.  It's good to remember how God gently deals with us in our sin, letting us experience a little pain now and then in repentance & enduring consequences, so we can grow.

It's worth it.

*This was an act of God, simply and seriously.  The Spirit helped me see this as a teachable moment, not just a time to get ticked off and take away the tv.  Praise Him!


  1. You were spot on. And it's not easy. We hate to see our child hurt, and it takes real discipline on our part not to give in. But lessons have to be learned, and this is the way to do it.... not leaving it until our children *do* make us mad. That's always a bad time to get a message across. Good for you!
    And what gorgeous hair your daughter has....had to get that in!
    Love, Anne x

  2. ugh. this hits home. Just now, after Dex threw some toys down the stairs and then refused to go pick them up, I had to stick firm when disciplining him. He gets this incredibly sad, quavery poochy lip that is really hard not to give in to, but you're right, they need this!