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Just the Facts, Ma'am, Just the Facts

January 27, 2016

I have a son who tells on himself. He cries about someone hitting him. When I weed through the reasons, he’ll finally say, “Because I hit him with a stick.” (I have given permission to hit back in defense; it’s a matter of self-preservation.) “If you hit them with a stick, they’ll hit back.” (They tell him to stop several times first. I hear them.)

After weeding for the facts, I tell him, “If you do this, you’ll get this. That's cause and effect."

The glazed look in his eyes tells me that we will have this talk again.

Does this make a difference? It interrupts my day—taking 15-30 minutes every time. Each time there’s a new restriction, often he sits with me where I can see him at all times. He ‘gets bored’. I don’t entertain him. I ask him why he’s there. He must tell me. If he cannot be kind to his brothers, and I must watch him to keep him kind, then he must sit with me, while I work. And he must be quiet so that I can work.

When my rules are not obeyed, because he forgets… I tell him that he forgets because they are not important to him. He must make my words important…so important that he remembers them. They must be what he thinks, before he does anything else.

Then he was forgetting too often…I limited everything. He sat beside me as soon as school was over until after chore time. He sat with me for two weeks. Every time he would sigh, I'd ask, “Why are you sitting with me?” I wouldn’t allow any mumbling, any non-answers. I felt like the wicked witch of the East, only I didn’t have a bicycle to ride away after I was ugly. I asked Joey if I was too hard. He said, “You aren’t gentle.”

This wasn’t time-out for something he already did, this was preventing what he would do, if I wasn’t watching every minute.

Just the facts…can we separate acts from reasons? Jesus said, “If a man lusts in his heart, he’s committed the sin.” Those are facts we don’t see. Those are motives that we may never know. But looking at the outside facts, change must come.

As moms, we must hate the sin, but love the sinner. I see where disobedience leads. I love him enough to stop him. Am I hard? Yes. Do I like it? No. Is he learning? I wonder.

“A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother.” (Proverbs 10:1). Moms feel the grief of a wayward son for the rest of her life. I’d rather fight now to keep him from being foolish, then feel the pain later. “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” (Proverbs 13:24).

I’m glad God looks at my heart and finds a Mom trying to keep her son from displeasing Him, because I don’t like who I am when I must stop him from being foolish.

Just the facts, Ma’am. Just the facts.

 



Do you ever feel like the wicked witch while you're disciplining? Is there a way to avoid this feeling? (Besides not disciplining!)
 

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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