Sometimes Sam is quite defiant. The other day I had told him not to go in the bathroom because the floor was still wet from a splashing good bath.
But that didn’t stop him.
“Sam,” I said, “I told you ‘no.'”
He looked me straight in the eye and reasoned, “Well, I told me ‘yes.'”
He is a gigantic almost four-year-old and his life is marked by extremes. He can be the sweetest guy in the world. He gives me unsolicited hugs and pats on the back every day. He adores his brothers and hugs them about once every half hour. When we pick them up from school Sam often asks them, “How was your day?”
But there are times that he is a handful, figuratively and literally. He still throws himself down in public, screams his head off over slight disappointments, often cries about having to sit at the table for a meal, and manipulates the family to get his way. He weighs about fifty pounds and although I can carry him around (last night I took him to Trader Joe’s in his pajamas and carried him the whole time) it is not easy. Recently I’ve had an epiphany: I need to discipline him with greater consistency (not rationalizing away his behavior by thinking about how as the little brother he is constantly being dragged from practice, to game, to school event, etc, etc) and I need to set the bar higher than it has been.
We are actually making progress. Yet it is still a matter of picking battles and sometimes I stink at that. Last night I decided he had to try one bite of cantaloupe, who doesn’t like cantaloupe? But guess how that ended? Badly. Maybe he really hated it, or maybe he can throw up on demand, I’m not sure.
The thing I need to remember is that discipline is hard work. It’s always easier to ignore, to cater, to give in. But that’s not the loving thing to do. I can laugh inside about some of his antics, but if I love Sammy, and I do love Sammy desperately, then I need to discipline him even when I’m tired, even when I’m finally getting a minute to read or to exercise or to do whatever it is I think I need to do. I’m so thankful that the Bible talks about this very issue.
Hebrews 12:11 says, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Ahh, looking forward to that harvest!