Love As Discipline

In the book ‘Friendship with God’, Neale Donald Walsh says that, when our children need discipline, we should shower them with love. Love as discipline? Difficult to conceive, because when our children need discipline, it is then that we are most upset. Upset with them and disappointed with ourselves, to the point that even we need a time out.

We need to figure out what method of discipline is best. We need to reevaluate how we currently raise them. We need to stop what we’re physically doing at that moment to attend to discipline. We want to love them, but we are frigging annoyed! We want to get on with our own lives and we also want them to hurry up and learn the difference between what’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’!

So we ground them, take away privileges, and or withdraw our time. And we wait for them to ‘suffer’ the consequences of their actions. Although, in reality, most times we punish our kids, we suffer too.  We convince ourselves that it is for their own growth, but wonder why we are the ones who feel uprooted.

While we are trying to help our kids be responsible and create structure, we lose ours! Ain’t that a paradox?

Now, humor me for a bit and let’s flip the switch for a minute, and talk about our partners. Sometimes we sound like a broken record asking them to change those behaviors that irk us.  But they continue being themselves and stick to their annoying habits, while we complain (or nag as they call it), but we pick up after them or adjust our lives accordingly to deal with their ‘shortcomings’. We don’t punish them, take away privileges or withdraw our time, no matter how many years we’ve been going through the cycle. We look past the irritants, snuggle up to them and love them anyway.

Yes, it’s all too true.

Why can’t we be the same with our kids? Why are we not as gentle or patient with them? When our husband or partner asks for our attention, we usually stop and focus purely on their needs. And we do this with our children too, but often times, if they are repetitively demanding of us, we find it irritating. We believe that they should be more independent, less reliant on us. Yet, we overlook how dependent our spouses are on us.

My point. Be gentle with your kids. When they ask for your attention or help, respond with love. If you are in a happy relationship, think of how you would have responded to this same request from your partner. Allow yourself to love your children with the same tenderness and patience that you do your husband. Go the extra mile. Be generous with your time. Discipline with love.

The bible speaks of Agape Love, and we can still hear the chants of Bob Marley’s One Love. I constantly strive for this, but it can be challenging. It is easy to have more love for those that I share a friendship or kinship with, however, applying my love with unbiased patience is becoming easier. … Starting with my husband and daughter.

Life is short… Discipline with love.

 

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