Potty training. Using a spoon. Drinking from a cup. I thought those things were tough, but they don’t hold a candle to training your child’s heart. It’s non-stop around the clock and you never know when opportunity will strike. Sometimes I rush so quickly to a discipline issue that I leave an assortment of strange items in my wake: a pan of cold bacon grease on the school desk, a bag of frozen ground beef in the bathroom. No, I’m not crazy. I have toddlers. It’s truly a physical and emotional balancing act. Be consistant, but felxible. Be firm, but not harsh. Thankfully, there is a never ending source of grace to meet us each day.
Grace is actually a concept we have been trying to weave into our training recently. Our oldest is three, so it’s hit and miss…
Me: William, you were fussy this evening, but I decided you can have a cookie anyway. That’s what grace is – getting something you don’t deserve, just because I love you.
William: YEAH! I can do what I want and still get cookies!
Sometimes Dave takes a different approach to discipline than I do.
Dave: George, there’s no need to drop your food. I am perfectly willing to listen to your complaints if you voice them in a reasonable, logical manner.
(Sometimes they simply don’t feel like being logical.)
They also don’t understand the concept of “tough love” very well…
Me: William says I make a really mean face. Can you believe it?
Dave: Wow! …I’ve actually known that for some time.
I’ve started the “repeat what I said,” but it just doesn’t work when you’re one year old –
Me: Stop bothering your brother.
George: Hi, Mommy.
Me: George, are you listening? Stop bothering William. Stop bothering…who?
Me: No! Stop bothering WILLIAM. Stop bothering who?
George. Winnie the Pooh.
Me: (sigh). Just go play. Bother whoever the heck you want.
Well, tomorrow’s a new day with brand new training opportunities. And plenty of new grace.