Michael is my youngest and most strong-willed son. Of course, he got that from his father. 🙂 Disciplining him was not easy since I didn’t always understand the ways of this child.
I remember when he was ten months old; I asked the doctor what was wrong with my baby. He bites, screams, and sits on top of his older twin siblings refusing to let them up. Even when I nursed him he bit me, then looked up and smiled when I gasped in pain.
By three-years-old, he learned how to manipulate me into taking him home when we were out shopping. He hated when I stopped anywhere. He always had to go potty. If there was no restroom around, I took him home, quickly. Soon he had to pee every time we went out. I realized his need to pee went away as soon as we got home. After that, each time we shopped, and he needed to go, I told him to go in his pants. The look on his face—shock. He never peed his pants, but he learned that trick no longer worked with me.
Michael’s strong-will has served him well as a college student. No one leads Michael where he doesn’t want to go nor is he a follower. He thinks and reasons everything out.
Because of Michael’s determination, most things turned into a fight with him kicking and screaming as I carried him out of the library or store. One time when Michael was four, I took him and my twins to the grocery to pick up a few items before dinner. This store had a supervised playroom for children under six while their moms shopped. My twins loved it but not Michael. He wanted to go with me.
The bakery gave cookies to the kids, so as soon as Michael saw the bakery he asked for a cookie. I told him no since it was near dinner time.
He screamed throughout the entire store.
When people saw me in an aisle, they turned and went a different direction. I finally took everything out of my cart placing them on a nearby shelf. I picked up my other two kids with Michael still crying and screaming for a cookie. Everyone was looking at us! He yelled all the way home, too.
As I pulled into the driveway, my husband came to the car asking me why I was home so fast. Exasperated, I said, “Your son!” (Of course, when they are bad they are his kids, not mine.) After explaining what had happened, Mike said, “I’ll take care of him, you can go back to the store.” Michael was an angel when I got home, even apologizing for his behavior.
Without discipline from my husband and me, he might have become a rebellious young man with no respect for authority. We had to teach Michael respect at a very young age—more so than my older two children who were more complacent and easy-going.
I learned I had to be stronger than Michael was. He would not have respected me unless I won more than a few battles. He had to surrender his young will to mine—not in a breaking-the-spirit-kind-of–way. My husband and I never wanted to break him; we wanted to teach him through discipline.
Hebrews 12:7 (NLT) says, “As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who is never disciplined by their father?
In Hebrews 12:6 we are told God disciplines the one he loves. He punishes or disciplines us because He. Loves. Us. He punishes us now so he does not have to do it for eternity.
We are like our children in many ways. How many of us have thrown a temper tantrum because God didn’t give us what we wanted and when we wanted it? How many of us like to wait for anything?
Yet, He knows what is best. Just as we know what is best for our children, most of the time.
I believe God allows us to be parents so we can feel what he feels. The hurt, the joy, the frustration when your child won’t listen, and the pain when they leave.
God does not wish to break us but to mold into someone who looks and acts like Jesus. He wants us to surrender our will to him so he can teach us how to live for him and others and He wants us to respect His authority.
Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward, there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
Godly discipline yields fruit. We are being trained. We can fight it or we can surrender to it.
Right living (or righteousness) is really what we hope for our children. We want our children to love and be loved, successful in whatever job they chose, and be godly people. God wants the same for you and me.
If this spoke to you, would you mind sharing it? Thank you!