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Posts Tagged ‘Disciplining’

I bought a bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider with the hope of someday celebrating a publisher’s decision to purchase one of my picture book manuscripts. The bottle resides at the back of an unused cupboard. Its top label is coming unglued. It’s stained. It’s dusty. It’s ten years old.

I am good friends with the first half of Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” I told myself if I received 25 manuscript rejections, I would throw a party. I lost count somewhere in the mid-thirties and never had my party. But I still have my bottle of Martinell’s. And even though its drinkability died about seven years ago, the hope it represents has not. Hope deferred is still hope. It is hope prolonged…not annihilated.

I love Psalm 71:14, “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.” It’s a statement. A resolution. A choice against odds. Hope needs to be a determined purpose because it is difficult to sustain when its fruit seems nonexistent. But ponder hope’s alternatives: despair, self-pity, cynicism, anger, depression.  As for me, I will always have hope. Micah 7:7 is similar:

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”

Expectancy while waiting. Confidence that the One you trust will deliver.

I look forward to the day (soon, I hope) when Proverbs 13:12aHope deferred makes the heart sick” is no longer relevant to my picture book dreams. Instead, I anticipate the “b” portion of the verse: “…but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” So the next time I’m at the grocery store, I’m going to buy a fresh bottle of Martinelli’s. Because I don’t want “a longing fulfilled” to make the stomach sick.

As for me, I will always have hope.

What are you hoping for?

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My strict, German-American grandmother believed that after disciplining your child, “you should be able to go off and sing a song.” I comprehend her point: Discipline out of love, not anger. But in fifteen years of parenting, not once has this soprano assigned consequences to a child and then felt like busting a melody. Wanted to scream? Definitely. Cry? Of course. Laugh at melodramatic antics? Sometimes. Phone a counselor? Possibly. Sing? Never.

You raised three beautiful girls and five mischievous boys, Grandma. After delivering punishments, what on earth did you sing? “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen?”

Yesterday, there was an FBI (Formidable Behavioral Incident) in my home. When it was over, I did not sing. I prayed. I analyzed my child’s actions and my reaction. At some point, Grandma’s “singing philosophy” resurfaced and I began amusing my brain by fishing it for “Fitting Songs to Sing After Making My Child’s Life Miserable for His or Her Own Good.” Here is my selection:

1. The chorus of Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler:

    An analogy jackpot, crooning this chorus could provide timely parenting cues.

  • “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em” – Stand strong on moral, character, or safety issues. Fold on exasperating non-issues such as a son’s Justin Bieber bangs that consistently bury luminous blue eyes (as a random, hypothetical illustration).
  • “Know when to walk away and know when to run.” – Keep a calm, in-control, poker face when disciplining…even when yelling, snickering, or sobbing beg introduction. If this isn’t possible, walk away and “deal” consequences later.
  • “You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table, There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealing’s done.” Avoid evaluating a child’s end-result character based on the current hand your dealt. Keep working; the “game” is not over yet.

2. Get Back Up by TobyMac  –

We lose our way,
We get back up again
It’s never too late to get back up again.

    There is always hope for my child’s behavior. And my parenting.

3. It is Well With My Soul, Kutless Version-

    Reserving this hymn for particularly distressing episodes could offer comforting revelation that at least something is right in the world.

4. The ending of Billy Joel’s  Just the Way You Are

I said I love you and that’s forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are.

My children do not know Billy Joel’s song, but I think they would recognize its theme. After dispensing discipline, I have been unsuccessful in implementing Grandma’s proverb “to go off and sing a song.” But I have told my kids I love them…no matter what. And that’s a tune I hope they remember. 

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Singer Icon: Matma Rex, Wikimedia Commons

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