Tuesday 26 October 2010

This song made me smile

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Teaching myself my own lessons

It had been a long day. I was distracted. I'd asked the boy to do something (I can't recall what it was) what felt like a hundred times, and it still hadn't been done. (Mistake #1 - not ensuring it happened after the first time I requested it.)

In my distraction, I carelessly tossed out a threat: "If such-and-such isn't done immediately, you won't get a bedtime story." Immediately I chastised myself. I'd just come up with a completely arbitrary punishment despite recognizing the many pitfalls of using punishment (or praise) to control behaviour. Mistake #2.

He paused, considered for a few seconds, and then said, "okay. I won't have a bedtime story. Okay?" And he started walking off to play.


I walked right into that one. I'd said it myself:

Finally, the child will come to consider whether the negative behaviour is “worth” the punishment. Is sneaking this candy “worth” the spank I will get? Is taunting my little sister “worth” being sent to my room for a while? And then what recourse does the parent have left when a punishment is no longer effective? Harder spankings? Longer groundings? More loss of privilege? There’s only so much you can do once the child has learned to weigh the negative behaviour against the likely punishment – and then the behaviour spirals out of control.

He had considered my threat and determined that the loss of his bedtime story was worth avoiding whatever it was I'd asked him to do.

Lesson unequivocally driven home, I gave myself a mental shake and turned my full attention to the situation, as I should have done in the first place instead of absentmindedly and repeatedly tossing out my request to a distracted three year old. I called him back to the table, apologized for making a foolish threat, and reinforced that no, my request wasn't optional. I restated my request in a proper manner (firm and clear), using eye contact and physical touch (my hand on his shoulder) to ensure I had his full attention. He immediately and cheerfully completed the task I'd asked him to do, and we both carried on with our day.

Discipline. Not punishment.

Monday 11 October 2010

To whom much is given

Every year on Thanksgiving, it's the same thing: Why me?

Why me? Why have I been blessed with so much? Why do I only need to turn on a tap to have a drink of cold water or a nice warm shower? Why do I have food on my table and clothes in my closet? Why do I knit and sew for fun rather than necessity? Why was I born in this wonderful country?

Why me?

Every year, the same guilt sucks the joy out of my blessings. How can I praise God for His good and perfect gifts while another family wonders where their next meal will come from, another mother watches her child wasting away, another child must work rather than attend school?

Why me?

Finally, this year, I have my answer.

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."

Luke 12:48b

I have been given much. So much. And it is meet and right to praise God for those blessings He has showered upon me.

But from those who have been given much, much will be demanded. Much is expected from me. It is my responsibility and my joy to bless others in turn. My question must not be why me, nor why not them, but simply what is now expected from me? What can I now do to give out of my great wealth? Time, money, possessions, encouragement, love, prayer - all these things I can, must, be willing to give.

May my eyes be open to the deep need around me, and may I never fail to give as the opportunity arises. To my fellow Canadians, blessings to you on this Thanksgiving day!