Posts Tagged ‘discipline’

Ok, to follow my previous post, because I'm too nice to make you sit through both of these at the same time, I've been reading the book of James and it has been ahem stirring me up so to speak.
James has some choice words in chapter 2 for believers who think it's OK to treat people with money preferentially over those who have none.  He really takes them to task for it, and in the process delivers this:

14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

This brought to mind several conversations I've had about Sunday lunch tippers.  I've had friends over the years who have been waitresses/waiters. They've mentioned the horror of the after church Sunday lunch crowd.  Yes folks.  Straight from Church Christians are notoriously BAD tippers.  Often rude and demanding they usually leave the bare minimum, if not less.  I've even heard several stories of people not being tipped with money but instead with a biblical tract..attempting to 'save' the wait staff.

REALLY! (Come on universal sarcastic font.  How I need you!)

Apparently we've not read this verse.  If we say…hey I wish you well.  I'm going to care about your 'eternal soul' but not give a flying fig newton about how you put food on the table, or do my part to help you keep a roof over your heads then what good is it?  This isn't exactly putting faith into action is it?

Tip like you were tipping Jesus folks!

The other great thing about wealth is here:

1Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.

I feel like this is particularly timely.  Seriously.  What all do we have that comes to us at a price to others that have nothing against us?  What about the death that has been caused because of the Oil and Gas that fuels our cars and warms our homes?  What about the coffee that is grown in such a way that the workers get pennies a day for their back breaking work?  What about shopping at big conglomerate stores or restaurants that treat employees and suppliers with disdain and keep them in poverty?  What is the price on my relative luxury. 

I read an article the other day in the Washington Post about a woman who was complaining about how she was just scraping by on $300,000 a year. I was just appalled by this and had much to say about the excess of her life.  Then I read James.  Do you know that I (who often live paycheck to paycheck) am in the top 8.1% wealthiest people in the world? See where you come out. So where do I need to pare down, give up, let the cries that reach the Lord reach my ears?
Lots to think about.  Hope it stirs you too.

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My dearly beloved shush now is incommunicado for the week so I thought I'd step up and try and blog something deep and thought provoking to fill the big gap that she has left for us.  Of course I'm not as well written as her…so Grace Me Please!  (but do discuss away)

    Growing up, the dinner table was one of the most excruciating places for me.  We used to have family dinner together, and one of the daily events of our household would take place.  Tell us one thing about your day.  Normally this would be a lovely thing, as I love to talk and, well let's face it, I do it well and with enthusiasm.  However, in our house, there were some rules attached to it.  My youngest brother, David, would go first, and he was remarkably erudite for one so small, and blessedly brief.  My Sister, Beth, was next.  Now Bethany has a gift.  How to describe it?  Well once she called me on the phone, from England, to tell me all about a movie she had just watched.  She spent over an hour telling me about various scenes, and minute details.  When I finally watched The English Patient for myself, there were only about 4 scenes that I didn't recognize.  This is my sister. 

Mum:  Tell us one thing about your day Bethany.
Beth:  Well I went to school this morning, just like usual, but I was walking with David, not with Bekki, and I was     wearing my red coat, but with my old mittens, not my new ones, because you were washing them, and I went into my classroom, and hung my coat on the peg.  My peg is three pegs down from Gemma's but Gemma stayed with me while I hung my coat on my peg, which is blue….
Cut to me having an apoplectic  fit. 
   See there was a rule when it came to 'one thing'.  It was that NOBODY (translation no loud mouthed red-head) could interrupt anyone (no matter how important the interruption) else's story.  This killed me. 

So while my sister spun a tale for 20 min, I had to sit, be silent, listen.  Hard work for the more verbal, better storytelling, ADD mess that is me.  This was torture, and I was convinced it was specially engineered to drive me bonkers.
My parents are INGENIOUS!
Really they are!

    They realized that we were not perfect.  They realized that part of their job as parents was to help shape us to be people other people wanted to be around.  People who were less selfish than they wanted to be.  People who didn't believe the world revolved around them.  People who could listen as well as the could talk.  People who understood their faults and continued to work to better themselves.  People with a work ethic. 

My parents wanted the best for us kids, and knew it would cost them to help us become the best we could be.  And they were up to the task.
They knew it came down to this.  Loving their children enough to discipline them.

    Now here is where I think it's important to define things.  Like for instance the ideological difference between discipline and punishment.  I think there is a difference between Discipline and Punishment.  Punishment is a response for something done wrong, that is purely punitive. It's all about balancing the scales…you did this, you deserve that.  Discipline is something different.  It is a corrective action with the bigger goal in mind.  For instance, if you have a big dog who likes to jump up on people when he meets them you might Discipline  your dog by using small consequences, a spray of water in the face, or as sharp rap on the nose with a "NO" for a while, to train him not to jump up.  This is all done with the goal of having your dog be liked by the people who come in your door, not scaring them.

It seems to me that parents should be dicipliners, not punishers, and I see to often that they just punish, and don't discipline.  Because discipline takes more work.

    I've done a fair amount of work with kids. I've nannied, I was on staff as youth leader at my church for 5 years, I worked with an after school program, and a residential hospital for adolescents.  Plus I shop at Target, and go to the movies, get groceries, and gas, manage a hotel, and see quite a bit of life.  People who discipline are rare.  And it's sad. Instead I see kids who get away with particular behavior until it inconveniences the parent, which is when they lash out, punish, and try and restore some order.  It usually involves screaming, violence, and a parent who is at the end of their ropes. It also leaves the kid feeling completely unsettled.  It was ok to do that a moment ago, but now I'm in trouble for it?

    I used to nanny for a single mom (more power to her, I don't think I could do that), and she used to tell me she didn't understand why her kids were so much better behaved for me than they were for her.  I didn't understand why she was so puzzled.  She would pull the 'if you do that one more time' trick.  Every time one of her kids was acting up she'd say. "if you do that one more time I'll…..(fill in the blank with consequence)".  And then the next time he'd do that, she'd repeat the threat, but never follow through, until she was exhausted, or stressed, and they pushed just too far.  Me?  I wasn't that lenient.  If I ever said "if you do that one more time" then the next time they did it I followed through with the consequence.  (Yes that was something I learned from my parents) and the kids soon learned to do what I asked, and not to do what they shouldn't.  This was discipline, for when those boys lived within those boundaries, they were more fun to play with, didn't hurt each other, and we got to be good friends.

    My parents were very consistent with their discipline.  And, yup, they spanked us…which will make many people see red…but just wait.  They disciplined…not punished…so never once did they wail on us, or get out of control, or unpredictable.  It was more like this.  I had a wiggly worm…a worm with a saddle, on wheels.  I used to go to the top of the driveway and coast down the driveway into the road, which was a well traveled thoroughfare.  I did it once, and my mom saw it.  Her response.  "Rebecca Sue, you are NOT to go into the street. If you go into the street again you will get a spanking"  she made it clear that this was a spanking offense, and if I chose to break the rule that would be the consequence.  Her idea wasn't to hit me, but instead to train me to be safe in how I played, so I could grow past childhood.  Another area we had boundaries?  Shopping.  If we went shopping with our parents, we  were not to try and touch things in the store, or  ask our mom to buy all sorts of goodies.  We understood that if we did either of those two things it was a spanking offense. And my mother had to choose to enforce the consequences, even if it inconvenienced her.  There were several times that we left a partially full shopping cart, to go home and deal.  But each of us kid learned our lesson and mom could shop with all three of us and not have to worry.

Think about it. How many times have you been in Walmart and seen some kid grabbing stuff, or "BUT I WANT…"ing or screaming up a storm because they didn't get their way?

<———-Generally being this child.

Discipline is more than just character development.  It is also about security and love.  I remember watching an episode of Supernanny, where she really addressed being consistent with consequences for a particular child.  This young boy had wrecked havoc in his home, and the couple weeks with the nanny had made a difference.  When she went to go, that boy ran out of the house after, tears streaming down his face.  Her  presence, and consistent discipline had brought the best sense of security, and to be honest, love, that this little child had ever known, and he was terrified that when the nanny left, that would go as well. 

    Discipline, hard work though it is, is all about creating a sense of worth in your children.  They know where the boundaries are, and know that they are safe, and cared for.  It is all about doing what is best for this precious person we're responsible for.  It costs us the energy and time that it takes to follow through, even when we don't feel like it. 

    I am infinitely grateful for the discipline of my parents.  There is a passage in the bible that equates discipline with legitimacy.  It basically says that God brings discipline, and that very act shows that we belong to him, the evidence that we are his legitimate children, not the red headed step child that gets ignored until it is too much, and then overly punished.  Discipline shows we love, it shows we care for whom our children are going to become, and helps give them the tools they need for life, living it to the fullest. 

    I wouldn't trade my parents for anything! (however, I do rent them out for parties, hugs, temporary parenting 🙂 and the like)  If I can be half the parents they are, my future children will be very lucky.

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