Why I refuse to discipline based on fear.

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The air smelled like autumn as I sipped my first hot cup of coffee in about an hour. I was running low on mommy fuel , and slurring my words together to my best friend sitting beside me. Why did I choose decaf again? We all know if I laid down , even in the middle of this soccer practice I would fall asleep. Grass rash or no grass rash, my butt would be in dreamland. Wake me up when the scrimmage is over.

I was tired because, well as if you need an explanation….

(Last night all our children decided to have a party that apparently I got an invite to the day before, you know when they all skipped any sort of nap for the day. I failed to reply, and I guess they assumed I was attending at 3 am in their bedroom. I was asked to bring chips and dip went I walked into the party. I told them all …

” you know what happens when you assume. You make an #%^ out of your mother.”

Mommy gets mean at this hour. Next time send the invitation to your father. )

In my coma like state I’m cheering on my son. My energetically inclined boy. Standing there in the middle of the field , jumping. I mean this child has been jumping since he was 8 months old. I’ve never met another child that jumps in place when he is excited Iike he does. It’s impressive , yet embarrassing in public at times.

” Asher! Want some ice cream?!”

Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump again. Jump. No words needed. Saves his vocal cords . No he is not mute, lady observing in corner. We take donations for his speech therapy.

His coach approaches my chair.

” He’s more an acrobat than a soccer player, don’t you think? I mean he is good, but maybe you should consider gymnastics.”

” oh yeah. I would love for him to be a gymnast. I was . He loves anything active. He can’t sit still. Always moving.” (Smiles too large. )

” Yeah that’s YOUR fault. He needs discipline.”

I laughed , assuming he was joking. He was not. He goes on to tell me all about his discipline strategies, and sending his children off to boarding school. The benefits of having a switch to spank in every crevasse of his home, and how to quiet down a loud child with one spank.

I sat there dumbfounded and hungry. Suddenly I was hungry and I had no clever come back. I was too tired to say anything else, so I just sat there. My mind rolling with opinions and back lashes. All that came out was…

” He’s a good kid. Active but good.”

His active ness makes him my son. He wouldn’t be Asher if he sat still. He’s so full of life and hope that it explodes out of him, so he jumps. Does this drive me insane sometimes? Oh yes, sure does. But I wouldn’t have him any other way but this.

I learned, listening to this man … That so many parents pride themselves on how well their children behave. They thrive on a relationship with their child that is based on fear of the parent. What other choice do they have but to obey? Their tiny, yet intricate brains never get a chance to obey out of love and respect, only fear.

You better believe I would obey , if I had a large almost 8 foot tall man holding a switch in his hand telling me to behave. You wouldn’t hear a peep out of me, for fear of my behind being beaten. This kind of parenting doesn’t shape how our Heavenly Father parents us.

I obey God because I love him. Because I know that his plans for me , in the end are good. Do I fear him? Yes. But it’s fear out of love.

Our children respect us, because they know we love them. We have shown them first we love them, instead of instilling a fear based parenting. Obey me or else.

Obey me , or I will be disappointed that I have to punish you… Because I know you are capable of respecting me as your parent. When we voice that we believe they are capable of obeying , because our rules are out of love and not control, we make it easier for them as adults. We give them an identity that makes good choices. That obeys and respects authority, as someone will always be in authority over them. If not a boss, always our Heavenly Father. They will have to submit to someone always. Might as well teach them NOW how to do it out of a healthy love.

One day they will be grown and making decisions on their own . Let’s not shell shock them the day they leave the nest. The day they leave our care. Let’s teach them now to make wise choices, because it’s good for them. Not just because we say so. We will not be in their dorm room their first year of college asking the pot head to leave. No. We will be in the empty nest. Praying we did the right thing. Made the right choices, and loved them well enough to equip them for their calling .

I get nauseated when I see domination parenting. When I see mothers and fathers basing their self worth on how well they can get little Joey to listen. How fast he submits and how quiet he sits.

Do we discipline our children? Absolutely. The bible commands us to. But we want to get to the heart of WHY they are disobeying and what we can do to fix that. We are the bosses of our children, the sole providers and caretakers. It’s our job to discipline, and provide healthy structure.

But I want their obedience to be based on love. And my discipline to be the same .

There are times it’s not based on love , but my rage to bite someone’s head off. Because I’m tired from a long day. Because I’m tired of repeating myself. Because I’m still tired from a year ago.

But at the end of the day , when my head hits the pillow I know. I know that in all my faults and failures of the day that my kids know I love them. They know it because I discipline . But the discipline is out of love , not fear.

Think about how God loves us. He loves us so much that he gives us choices to disobey. With those sins come consequences. But in the end, he gives us grace when we repent. I want the same with my children.

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