Joel came to live with us at age seven full of explosive anger. He had no structure or discipline and teaching obedience started at entry level.
Our family schedule, mealtimes, playtime, bathing and bedtime routine were some of the challenges that we all had to restructure whenever a new child entered our home. Things were harder this time. We all had to work hard and bend with his extreme behavior.
We had our rules that stood firm in our hearts and minds but now, normal disciplines did not work. The family structure had potential for crumbling. The anger, at times, was unbearable.
We cried out to God and prayed for wisdom. We knew the road was tough and we were determined to depend on the Lord for victory.
One day while in my vegetable garden, in a fit of rage, Joel grabbed a pepper, twisted it with all his might, and threw it forcefully on the ground, thrilled that he destroyed my treasured property.
He then proceeded to rub his eyes.
Ouch! Excruciating pain! An unimaginable faucet of tears!
God used a hot pepper to orchestrate a lesson to Joel’s little mind.
For two hours he cried and suffered noisily in a time-out chair on our lawn. The natural consequence of burning eyes taught him a life lesson.
Looking for appropriate consequences for every wrong behavior was a necessary parental goal. Unfortunately, parents suffer as much as the child when the discipline cuts into the family schedule or when, like Joel, he screams and cries for long time periods. It also is easy for parents to break down and give in to a disobedient child when patience wears thin.
Hot peppers taught Joel a lesson. He despised the consequences caused by his actions, but God used them to bring tiny steps of change to his life.
Discipline is hard work. Pray about every wrong behavior and look for natural consequences to help teach a lesson. Keep working at it. Never give up!
Promises: “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
“All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Isaiah 54:13
Partnering with God: Lord, help me to look for natural consequences to wrong behaviors in my child’s life. Give me Your wisdom to discipline God’s way so he/she will grow up to love the Lord with their whole heart, soul, and mind.
Let me know your thoughts!
Partnering with God,