Thursday, July 29, 2010

Disobedience, Consequences, and Lessons Learned

Question: When is it a good thing for your sons to blatantly disobey, and then to boldly lie about their disobedience?

Answer: When you follow through with swift and firm discipline, and see wonderful results.

Last weekend Joshua and Matthew were lighting smoke bombs with their friend. Brian and I had specifically told the boys NOT to play with the smoke bombs, but Brian smelled the evidence. He went to find them and was first told by Joshua and then Matthew that they had not been lighting the smoke bombs. It was their friend who finally admitted the truth - though Brian already knew, from the smell and the boys' guilty faces.
The two of us spent some time discussing the consequences of the boys' actions, and settled on good ol' fashioned grounding. No leaving the yard, and no electronics for a week.

Honestly? I was afraid of our decision. While Matthew took the judgement with ease, Joshua was livid. Didn't want to talk to Brian or I Saturday night. I couldn't imagine what it was going to be like living with him for the next seven days. And Sunday morning, he was still angry.
(How timely that the sermon Sunday morning was about discipline, as God acted severely among a people who would not listen to Him. See Malachi 2:1-9. I think Joshua may have been listening.)
By Sunday afternoon, he was inviting friends over to our house.
Monday they all came over again. And had lots of fun.
We played games together as a family.
When I came home from work Tuesday night, I found that Joshua had warmed dinner and set me a spot at a candle-lit table. He scooped ice cream for dessert with a cherry on top, and even cleared my place for me, rinsed the dishes, AND put them in the dishwasher. A little later we all played Rummikub together again. And when Joshua was tired he 'let' me come in and sing to him and rub his back/legs before saying good-night.

Joshua was hanging out at home with his friends. When he was 'bored' he did sweet things for me. We were playing games together as a family. Oh, yeah. I'm lovin' it!

But, alas, by Wednesday Joshua was changing his tune. Complaints of boredom were increasing. He started to accuse Brian and me of being too severe with his discipline. Said if we wanted him to like us, we shouldn't make his grounding last for a week.
However, I asked Joshua what he was going to do the next time we told him not to play with smoke bombs. He told me he wouldn't do it. I asked why, and he said because he didn't like being grounded.
Ahhhh, my son! You see? That is exactly why we chose a swift and severe punishment. So you would learn that obedience is always a better choice.

Soooooo, while I was not pleased with my sons' actions last Saturday night, I am thrilled with the results which have come from the consequences. God has a habit of taking that which was 'bad' and using it for good - and I see Him doing it here, too. Trusting Him to continue pouring grace on this family of mine. Oh, how we need it!

My prayer for you today is that you may trust in Him, too, watching for evidence of His hand at work in your every moment.



gianna said...

YEA! I love how you parent with God's ultimate glory in mind. I'll keep this in mind when the kids are a little older. If I want them to do something nice for me....GROUND them! (he he, just kidding!)

Irritable Mother said...

Gianna - I want to do everything with His glory in mind.
Hey, if grounding works to manipulate your kids - er, I mean train them - go for it! *wink*

Patricia/NYC said...

As my mom used to say..."a little discipline does a world of good!"
Hard to impose it at times, but very much needed!

Thanks for sharing!!

luvmy4sons said...

Oh yes...the joys of parenting! Good for you both! Sticking to your guns teaches much more than just how to be obedient about he single thing that they are learning! *wink* It always seems there are lessons for us too as parents, yes?

Nicky said...

Hi Karen, I am very glad I've found your site and your very inspirational posts. Blessings.

Irritable Mother said...

Patricia - I'm finding that sticking to it is harder than the imposing part. Joshua's complaining has kicked into high gear today. But I think a little 'pain' will do him some good, too.
I need God to keep me strong!

Leslie - Ah, yes. Lessons for me, too. Indeed!
It helps me to be gracious to my kids when I remember how much I have yet to learn...

Nicky - I'm so glad you found my blog, too. Looking forward to getting to know you!