DAY 17 – Kids Can Discipline Themselves (No, really!)

I experienced the power of silence today.

I’d been on a business trip, so I left the office to pick up my son a bit early. I had missed him.

He had just gone outside to shoot baskets and by the look on his face, was not happy to see me arrive early. In fact, he ignored my request to follow me into the school to head home.

I went into the school anyway, thinking when he didn’t see me standing outside, he’d follow. Nope. He was being stubborn.

discipline themselves_pinterest

Now this would be just the situation where I might lose my patience. In fact, in my head, I was saying all the things I planned to say to him…as soon as we got to the car. About respect, disobedience, the way you treat others…

He reluctantly followed me when I went to get him a 2nd time.

I was silent.

We got into the car, and I explained I was going to grab a pizza to take home.

I didn’t say another word.

I started forming new words in my head. A different perspective than just my irritation. About how I understood him wanting to play. It had rained most of the week, and this was their first day outside in a while. About how much I had missed him and looked forward to picking him up and was sad that he didn’t see that.

But I never said a word. And didn’t have to.

This is when I experienced the power of silence.

With tears, he said, “I want to hug you.” So I reached behind my seat and grabbed his hand.

  • [Him: I’m sorry, Mama. You’ve been gone, and I just treated you badly.]
  • [Me: It’s okay.]
  • [Him: (sniff) I’m sorry.]
  • [Me: I know. I’m glad you’re sorry.]
  • [Him: (sniff, sniff) I missed you so much.]
  • [Me: I missed you, too.]

I drove on, realizing that could have gone so much differently. I could have nagged him with a list of all the reasons why his behavior was unacceptable. Fed into his guilt about me having been gone and missing him. You know what I mean – turn into the “lecture mom.” Thinking I have to use each disobedient situation as a learning episode in this thing called life.

And it dawned on me. His greatest lessons will be the ones he reaches on his own. As much as I put my faith in God to help me parent wisely, so must I put faith in God that He will be there to help my kids be wise, too. Realize their mistakes. Learn from them.

My son got all the points I had been ready to make. And I didn’t have to say a word. He recognized them on his own.

The Lord upholds all who fall
        and lifts up all who are bowed down.
                                                          Psalm 145:14

Now it was time to lift him up. When I parked at the pizza place, I got out to immediately give him a hug. He needed one. And so did I.

The power of silence is GOOD!

Go ahead. Give it a try. I don’t think you’ll be sorry. I wasn’t.

Heart Monitor: Days 10-13 – Fell off the wagon and couldn’t figure out how to get back on. Reverted to my old habits (ugh).
Days 14-16 – Had an out-of-town conference. No yelling. (pfft) That doesn’t even count – I wasn’t with the kids.
Day 17 – Back in the pilot’s seat, and hoping to fly steady!

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