Monday, April 23, 2012

How do you know I love you?

I hate disciplining my kids.  It's just not the part of parenting that I thought would be fun, and I have to say, I was right.

Time outs stink.

Following through on consequences is not fun. 

And sometimes, I kind of feel like just letting things slide.

And honestly, we've been dealing with a lot of behaviors lately.  It's been a time for them, particularly one of them, to test us to see if we really mean what we say.

But the other day, while in (yet another) discussion, I was talking with Thing 2 about some poor choices he had made.  I was explaining (again) how our words need to match our actions, otherwise we aren't believable.

To further show him my point, I asked him, "How do you know I love you?"

I expected him to talk about food, and then I expected something along the lines of "because you give me hugs," or "you tell me you love me," or something like that.  But I was really surprised by his response.

"Because you never let me starve," he started, "and because you never let me get away with doing bad stuff, because you want me to grow up to be a godly man who has character."

I kid you not, that is a direct quote, and it's one that floored me.  I know that I discipline him because I love him.  But I had no idea that he had put that together at a level that he could verbalize.  It's renewed my resolve to follow through on consequences and training them to do what is right. 

And now, every time they mis-behave, I picture them with a thought bubble above their head, quietly asking, "How much do you love me?  Do you love me today?  Do you love me when it's hard?"

And as I put them in (another) time out, or assign an extra chore for a consequence, I hope they are able to sense the answer to their question in the thought bubble above my head, "Yep.  I love you.  I'll love you always, no matter what.

Perhaps eventually they'll see the other thought bubble right under that one, that says, "Please, please, please......knock it off!!"  

But until then, one time-out at a time, we'll keep on answering that question, "How much do you love me?" with loving discipline.

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