01 September, 2009

Discipline

Today I wanted to post a sweet, cute vignette about the first day of school complete with smiling pictures of my adorable kids. That will have to be tomorrow's post...

After I picked up Asher from preschool today, I decided to head to Costco for a few things and get the two kids (Bridger was still at school) some pizza and an ice cream to celebrate. Shopping at that time of day is always pushing it and by the time we got our lunch, the kids were starving. I got one large twist ice cream for the kids to split for dessert (two cups). Everything was going great until I needed to get one more spoonful from Asher's cup to Eilidh's (she didn't get a full half, obviously).

Asher proceeded to whine about this spoonful. He was not content with his over-half-full cup, he wanted it all. So, I took it away from him. This lead to an all-out screaming fit. I mean screaming and stomping all the way out the door (especially as I threw away his ice cream cup).

On the way to the car, a woman, who perhaps had never had children or had certainly forgotten what it is like to have very small ones, heard him screaming and proceeded to instruct me to and "use discipline, honey." Then while she walked away, commented loudly to anyone who would listen that my child "obviously had never been disciplined a day in his life."

This is not the first time I've had a comment about my kids' temper tantrums in public. Bridger threw some good ones in his threes and Asher's not to be outdone in the category either. But what these busybody folks fail to realize while they witness the fit is the that the tantrum is the RESULT of discipline. If I wanted to be a pushover and keep Asher quiet, I simply would have shushed him and let him keep his ice cream. But he needs to learn to be thankful for his half of the cup and to share with his sister. NOT disciplining would have made my trip to Costco much easier. Moreover, Asher was going to get more of that said discipline once we got to the car, but I thought it prudent to wait until then since I was balancing grocery bags in one hand and a 17-month-old in the other who was dripping her half of the smoothie onto her dress. That lady's lucky I didn't have a hand free for a crossover jab.

The real question is why, when I know I did the right thing, does this bother me so much? It's embarrassing, of course, but there's more than that. Maybe I'm more like my son than I'd like to admit--I haven't yet learned to be happy with my over-half-full ice cream cup. I want it all. You see, I'm happy to take the (many more) compliments I receive about my kids' behavior, but utterly invalidated when a random stranger thinks I'm a bad mom. I like to take the credit, but none of the blame. And my identity is way too tied up in what people think of how my kids' behave, how I mother, how that all reflects on me.

Today, I am going to take some time to remind myself that my identity does not come from how I perform, but from Christ who performed for me (and my kids).

I guess I needed a lesson on the first day of school too.

5 comments:

Seth said...

Oh Rachel - I'm sorry. I appreciated your reflection on all of it. I would have been tempted to put the groceries down and use the point of my elbow.
Jill

amy said...

Wow, if that kind of person had caught me on a bad day, my kids would have ended up disciplining me! Nice to see your perspective shift so nicely after the fact. Now just try to get your head to stop thinking of all the things you could've said in retrospect...

geniene simrak said...

Rachel, it's been a long time since I've been to your blog, but I stumbled upon it today and I'm so glad I did! I fully know exactly how you felt! Eli is now three and a half and full of energy that manifests itself through fits of discontentment and manipulation. I must say, it's a comfort to know that other moms who deem values and discipline more important than the ease of the moment suffer the same problems I do. It's not a reflection of us as parents, but rather it's a reflection of humanity and its natural rebelliousness. Yes, my child is a rebel through and through (no matter how well-behaved or how strong the tantrums are) without the saving grace of our Lord Jesus. And I need it just as much as I lose focus in the daily moments of finding my identity and fulfillment in other things and other people's thoughts of me rather than my Lord.

Thank you for sharing this experience and reminding us all that we need it just as much as our kids do! The same sins preside. They just manifest themselves a little differently as we mature.

chaps said...

thanks Rachel, good post...speaks to me, too.

Daisy said...

what is it with these busy-body women? I had something similar happen to me today!