Discipline and punishment are just two things we never really want to deal with as parents, but we have to. If we don't discipline or punish our kids, they would never learn. I'm not talking about harsh discipline or corporal punishment, I am talking about correcting their mistakes and setting consequences for their actions. I guess my heart is heavy because I made my Buddy Bear cry tonight and not just a few little tears, big crocodile tears that tore my heart apart, but it is my job as his parent to follow through on the boundaries I had set. I told Buddy not to do something and he made a conscience decision to do it anyway and I had to be the bad guy. I had to be the one to sit down and have the talk about choosing to directly disobey, the consequences that follow, and we don't always have to follow others even if they are older than us, we can choose to be the leader. Then Daddy and I had to decide a punishment that was fitting. Once Buddy was told his punishment, he fell apart. The reaction was partly because of the punishment (he has to sit out for an activity for a little bit), but mostly because he knew what he did was wrong. He was sorry and he told me so. He thought that would be enough and while an apology was good, I knew I had to follow through on what I had told him. I told him long before he ever disobeyed, that if he didn't do as I had asked he would be punished. I had to follow through, I had to do what I said I would. Way too many times, I have not followed through and this is not setting a good example for him. I have to step up and follow through otherwise he will learn that Mommy doesn't do what she says and I would rather be mean a few times and get through to his heart than just let it slide and eventually have a child that doesn't listen to anyone, ever.
The more I have thought about tonight, the more I can relate it to my walk with God. I know what He says and the guidelines He sets for me. I have to then make a choice - am I going to obey or am I going to knowingly disobey? I know that if I obey I will have nothing to be sorry for or confess. I also know that if I choose to disobey the guidelines God sets for me, I will have to deal with guilt, sins, and the consequences that follow. I know all of this yet sometimes I still choose to disobey God and when I do I have to repent and God is gracious. He extends His mercy and gives forgiveness. He gives me another chance to learn from my disobedience and make a different choice in the future and that is exactly what I try to do. I am glad that God provides grace, mercy, and forgiveness otherwise there would be no hope, but I know that God is helping me grow and following through on His job as my Lord. He wants me to make the right decision the next time and continue to follow His path.