Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Disciplining = FUN #2 (Not to mention a whole heap of Work!) ;D

I have written two other blogs recently about discipline: Discipline is So Convoluted; and Discipline is FUN! I was blessed with comments from these posts which got me thinking and considering new discipline tactics. Though some weren’t worth employing, the process of thinking about them was a blessing and I am SO THANKFUL for the comments I received which provoked more thinking.

In one of these blogs, I brought up the IDEA/CONSIDERATION of having the kids do the chores of the person they wrong, as a consequence to certain behaviors… I then brought up this idea at our Family Meeting yesterday. This time, the boys knew I was serious, so I didn't get the joking responses that I got from them the first time I mentioned the idea (which I quoted in the first "Disciplining = FUN" blog). This time, all 4 of the kids responded simultaneously, immediately, and emphatically with a resounding, "NO!" followed by numerous responses confirming each other's thoughts that "having" to do some one's chores would only provoke anger towards the person whose chores they "had" to do. One person actually used the word "hate" as the emotion that could result; needless to say, we dropped that idea as quickly as it was opposed.

Given some relaxed thought, common sense tells me that if I want my kids to serve each other, then I need to set a good example of serving and frequently encourage them to serve each other during times when feelings are positive. Since I already do this... the reality is that even though my kids are absolutely amazing and wonderful (on their good days ;)... nothing I do is going to make them perfect! They still have their free agency, and they are still human (not to mention youth who are still becoming... still maturing and still growing up). You already knew that - didn't you? ~

Furthermore, no matter how much they love and serve each other, - I'll probably want them to serve and love MORE, and there will still be occasional bouts of evidence that they are most definitely right smack in the middle of the years of learning to assert their independence and of becoming selfless…

Now, back to that conversation with the kids… When one of the kids said something about having (“had,”) to serve (rather than “getting” to serve) it got me thinking, (once again) about how consequences from God never involve forcing children to do a right as a result of having done a wrong; Christ never forces. I didn't even realize that is what I had thought to do by CONSIDERING making it a "rule" that when one of them wrongs another he “has” to serve the one he wronged. I contemplated again on the fact that just as I cannot force my children to do right, I also need to be mindful not to disguise a means to forcing as a consequence.

I decided it is so much better to simply set a repentant example myself, and let them know that I have found that when I serve others my own feelings of anger, frustration pain, and other negative feelings dissipate and I am left with feelings of peace and love for others. Perhaps it is best to simply teach by example and let kids govern themselves to the best of their abilities… knowing that they too are capable of maturing and growing. Teaching is often times best done without any punishment at all. Sometimes the best consequence is simply the opportunity to learn a better way from someone trustworthy and loving.

Sometimes I just need to remind myself that "disciplining" isn't about “making” my kids perfect, or about making sure they behave “now;” it's about teaching. It takes patience and time to get results; discipline it isn't a quick fix.

Disciplining really is tough. It involves things like exercising... unconditional love, patience, listening, understanding, enduring well, teaching, leading, guiding etc. The results to good discipline are not usually instant; they come over time as the lessons sink in and self discipline is mastered.

Good, true, discipline does not involve quick fixes. It requires thinking, praying, humility, listening, and loving even when it is hardest to love. Real discipline is not about punishing (though it does mean NOT protecting from consequences of their actions!), it's about really teaching - which can only take place if relationships are good so youth care about the "teacher's" opinion. But despite all the self discipline and hard work involved, the fruits of true disciplining are lasting. They are worth it!

I am still thinking, and going back to basics. The reality is that I need to be patient and focus on what is going on inside each child - not just on current behavior... And I need to have faith that they will turn out great… and focus on encouraging repentance, rather than on trying to see to it that they never make a mistake.

OK - time to stop rambling...
I hope you have a great day! :D

PS. I love my kids SO MUCH!!! - They. Are. AWESOME!
They are worth every single ounce of every effort and brain strain imaginable (I'm sure yours are, too ;)!

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