So I have 3 children. I am constantly drawn in 3 different directions. I am listening to 3 different voices at once, and trying to satisfy all 3 at once. I almost feel like these are my internal voices, because even when the 3 sons are not physically in my presence, I still hear their voices and it’s all I can do to not answer them and to make sure that I am in the present.
I hear Weatherman’s voice, which is making predictions or orating what is coming next or what has already occurred, and making sure that I know what’s right or what’s not right, and what can be done or not done.
I hear Monkey’s cries, of wrongdoing against him and no one understands him.
I see and hear Caboose…who attacks and head-butts anyone who stands still enough to take it, and whose war cries are not understood by anyone within hearing.
This past week was rough. My middle child was Jan (from the Brady Bunch) in action. He rolled his eyes and threw a folder all within an hour, and by that time, I was definitely not Carol Brady, if you get my meaning. I told him to meet me in my bedroom, and he RAN from me. RAN! RAN! Okay, for all those of yall that don’t agree with corporal punishment…STOP READING NOW.
I grabbed my switch that I keep on top of my kitchen light fixture (which also holds toy golf clubs, a yard stick, a random stick) and proceeded to my bedroom, where Middle Child proceeded to duck and run from me. I finally got hold of his arm, looked him in the eye, asked him, “What in the world are you thinking?” and proceeded to spank him ONE TIME with the hickory switch.
Y’all. If I could have recorded him after the one time I got him with that 1/2 inch switch, I could be making royalties for the next 10 years. You would have thought I had emasculated the poor, young fellow. He ran to my closet, screaming in such a way that the Bookends thought I had killed him. Remember, I used the very bendable, very flexible hickory switch ONCE on his little behind.
A few minutes later, I talked him out of my closet, and into my bedroom. I asked him what in the world had gotten into him. He answered, “Caboose.” Yes, he blamed all his angst on his younger brother.
He says that it’s all because of Caboose that HE is acting like a heathen. It’s all someone else’s fault.
Teachable moment, I think. Our reaction to someone else’s actions are totally our RESPONSIBILITY! I tell Monkey that his reaction to Caboose is his own problem. He has the capacity to not let Caboose bother him, and to ignore what Caboose does to him. And Monkey most certainly can control his own reactions when it comes down to his own responsibilities, such as Tae-Kwan-Doe and homework.
I also mentioned his decision to follow Christ. He made a decision in 2012, to ask the Lord to be the Master of his life. I mentioned this verse:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
Then I told him that the second commandment says to love your neighbor as yourself. He didn’t think that was really important.
But I do. And he will. It really is about Jesus. My boys’ constant battle, that is still about Jesus and who is least and first. It really is about the first being last and the last being first.
And truth be told, Monkey does have a place to lay blame…me.
If I don’t love God and then love others, in his presence, then whose fault is it?
So when my kids start arguing and fighting next time…I am going to start loving on them and then make them love on each other. Because my life mission is going to be:
LOVE GOD AND LOVE OTHERS.
How hard can it be?