Saturday, June 28, 2014

Finishing Well

This is Judah. He's very much into Caillou, Lightning McQueen, Thomas the Tank and as you can see he totally rocks a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses. He's fun, talkative, cute as all get out and has an amazing set of eyelashes. He's also, like any 3-year-old I've ever known, prone to fits, disputes and general phases of disobedience. We are working on curing him of those rebellious moments and let's just say it's a work in progress. But our desire is to finish well with him -- and Seth -- as parents. Even after 25 years of the "terrible twos" it's no time to kick back and relax.

One interesting aspect of having children as young as 18 months living in the same house as children in their 20s is the observations of the older kids. Especially when the younger ones act up. Believe it or not, we've had frequent occasions where one of our sweet, innocent, very young lads or lasses does something so contrary to family harmony that it causes a great tumult. For example, in our house yesterday Brenton initiated disciplinary proceedings against Judah by sequestering him in his bed, much to his little brother's vociferous dismay. Judah was loud in his dismay. And when I say loud, it's loud; he's got serious lung power and I think he will grow up to either be a worship leader or a world-class miler. Maybe both. It turns out Judah had just taken all the little toy cars from Olivia -- without asking -- by brute force. Here's how the conversation between Brenton and MerriGrace went.

MerriGrace: "What's he in for?"
Brenton: "He confiscated all the cars from Olivia."
MerriGrace: "Oh. Grand theft auto."

There's even frequent occasions when there have been much more minor transgressions that cause a bit of a row. Truth be told, Julie and I can be a little worn out from correcting our lovely little ones and have a tendency to "let things go." Been there, done that after all. We can try and disguise it as "mercy" or "grace" ... but that isn't quite accurate. We've just gotten soft sometimes.

When that happens one of our older kids will shoot us a look that says, "Did you hear that?" or "Did you see that?" There are even times they'll come right out and say, "I never got away with that." I actually appreciate these looks and comments because it's a reminder that discipline is for the benefit of our children. We were at a baby shower today and a young woman who had been visiting with my teenage daughters pulled me aside and told me how much she enjoyed talking to them and how wonderful they are. I was very blessed by her comments and as I thought about it on the drive home I was reminded that molding children takes work. It takes consistency. There are times it takes punishment and for the children to know that there's consequences for bad behavior. It especially takes love.  While the process may be trying and difficult, I know that someday Judah will appreciate our efforts. Maybe he'll even give us a thumbs up.

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