—On Child Discipline.—By the Father DavidJune 12‚ 1978MO—DFO NO.718
© July 1978, by the Family of Love, CP 748, 00100 Roma, Italia.
[HomeARC note (9/98): The Charter is the current source of Family policy and rules regarding the discipline of minors.]
1. THAT HAVING TO DISCIPLINE DAVIDITO LAST NIGHT NEARLY TURNED ME SICK? It's so wonderful what a marvellous recovery he made so quickly though. That was really the Lord. I was really praying for him that he'd get the victory, and he came back so sweet and smiling and happy.—That was the funniest thing?:
2. OUR TWO-YEAR-OLD LITTLE GIRL LOOKED ACROSS THE TABLE WITH A RELIEVED, "HE'S HAPPY!" (Sara: Yes, wasn't that cute! Everyone was concerned. Three people came into our bedroom afterwards marveling about the discipline scene at the dinner table.
3. (IT IMPRESSED THEM IN A GOOD WAY. I really believe that many people are too hard when it comes to spanking, because the difference is that they don't love the children up afterwards.
4. (YOU WERE SO LOVING AND MERCIFUL AFTERWARDS‚ gave him a banana and then offered him a cookie‚ and Davidito came to the table. I was amazed that he ate the gravy you put on his food, because he usually absolutely refuses gravy of any kind! Sometimes someone will pour gravy on his food and he'll holler because he doesn't like it.
5. HE'S VERY PARTICULAR ABOUT SERVING HIS OWN FOOD. He will eat what he himself serves and what he chooses‚ but he wants to choose out how much he wants to eat and dish it out himself and everything.
6. (SO I WAS AMAZED, NUMBER ONE, THAT HE CAME BACK TO THE TABLE; AND NUMBER TWO‚ THAT HE REALLY GOT A QUICK VICTORY He was trying to please you by willingly letting you put gravy on his food, and he kept saying, "Ummmm, good!" and then he'd take another bite, "Ummmm, good!" He was really overdoing it, he was really trying hard.) Really sweet! (Sara: But see, that's the difference.
7. (I THINK THE ONLY WAY WE CAN EFFECTIVELY WRITE ABOUT DISCIPLINE IS BY GIVING EXPLICIT EXAMPLES, real-life stories about how things are handled, and give the different sides of the story. Because I don't think many people in the Family consider the kids' feelings and sensitivity to things‚ and love them up sufficiently afterwards.)
8. ALSO YOU HAVE TO HELP HIM SAVE FACE AFTERWARDS IN FRONT OF THE FAMILY. (Maria: Yes, when I used to be disciplined as a child, the worst thing was the embarrassment in front of others! I'd much rather go to my room and stay until I got over it. My eyes were red and I didn't want to see anyone‚ and then I'd start to cry again just thinking about how embarrassed I was in front of everyone.
9. (HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT HE WANTED TO DO. He was so embarrassed, but he didn't want to leave the table. But I think the best thing to help him save face and not get so hysterical might have been to send him away immediately to his room and make him stay there until he got over it.)
10. WELL, WE MADE A FEW MISTAKES, TOO, but of course, we couldn't, in spite of that, let him get away with what he did. But I didn't know that he had already asked for a potato.
11. NOW HE'S VERY DETERMINED, he's got very set ideas on what he wants and he's very stubborn and contrary about it, and if you don't do things the way he thinks they ought to be done when he wants them done, then he gets very angry.
12. I THINK HE REALLY FEELS LIKE HE SHOULD HAVE SOME CHOICE IN WHAT HE EATS, and he wanted a potato! Alfred was reaching for it but it hadn't gotten there yet when his mother decided to put the beans on his plate.
13. WELL, HE HADN'T ASKED FOR BEANS, HE'D ASKED FOR A POTATO, and I think everything would have gone much better if they'd got the potato there first like he wanted it. Then he might have tolerated the beans. But he didn't see it no matter what they said. They said they were giving it to him,
14. BUT KIDS GO MORE BY WHAT THEY SEE THAN WHAT THEY HEAR, by the action more than just the words, especially when upset. So he didn't see the potato coming, all he saw was the beans, and that made him really mad because he didn't get what he wanted.
15. (S: YES, AND HE WAS WANTING TO SHOW OFF FOR YOU by serving himself and mashing his own potato, and he was looking forward to putting the butter on it and everything himself to show you how big he was. I can see his reasoning.)
16. YES‚ BUT INSTEAD OF GETTING A POTATO HE GETS SOME BEANS! He was so mad he pushed them off his plate! It was almost like an involuntary reaction. But just the same, he cannot be allowed to yield himself to those temper tantrums and just uncontrolled violence—that's about what it amounted to in a mild way.
17. SO I'M SORRY‚ BUT I JUST FELT LIKE I HAD TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. We just couldn't let him get away with it. (S: And I think he really learned from it, because the good fruits from the lesson were so obvious.) And then afterward when his mother slapped his hand, he was just giving a real mad cry because he was really angry, he was just mad and continued to cry and wouldn't stop.
18. I FELT THAT I JUST HAD TO SLAP HIS MOUTH because of the way he was acting so rebellious. I felt real bad to have to do it, but I thought it necessary that he learn he can't just always have his own way and can't do as he pleases and get away with little tantrums like that.
19. BUT I THINK IF YOU GUYS HAD BEEN A LITTLE FASTER WITH THE POTATO THE WHOLE SCENE MIGHT HAVE BEEN AVOIDED. He was in kind of a contrary mood for some reason when we were with him all this afternoon. I don't know, maybe we weren't paying enough attention to him or something. (S: Baba even did the same to me because I hadn't seen her all day.)
20. IF YOU DON'T PAY THEM ENOUGH ATTENTION, THEN THEY KNOW ONE SURE WAY OF GETTING YOUR ATTENTION—DO SOMETHING YOU DON'T LIKE! (S: But yet, they're begging for your attention, your love, so even if they get a spank, they feel that at least they got your attention. If we could avoid the scene from the beginning, by just giving them the love and attention they need, that is what they're after.)
21. YES, THEY DON'T LIKE TO BE IGNORED, especially in the little time we spend with them, and we were talking with you. Now that's another thing he seemed to particularly resent: He's particularly jealous of you and the time we spend talking to you—that's another thing that just occurred to me. He always does that when you're around. Yes, we were walking together and ignoring him.
22. (MARIA: AND WE AREN'T TALKING WITH HIM OR PLAYING WITH HIM.) No, we weren't paying him the slightest bit of attention, we were just talking amongst ourselves. Then when we finally came and sat down on the bench together and kept on talking, I think that was sort of the last straw, and then he got real aggravated!
23. THAT'S FUNNY HOW HE'S SO JEALOUS OF YOU‚ SARA! In a way‚ it's kind of a double jealousy‚ he's always sort of jealous of me being with you. He really gets jealous of you. But then he's also jealous of our time and attention‚ and he doesn't like you taking it away from him.
24. SO HE WAS ALREADY ANGRY ON BOTH SCORES and he was really acting naughty out there in the yard banging on the bushes. I've told him so many times not to hit the flowers and the plants, but he was deliberately banging them with his little shovel, banging on the hedge.
25. (S: NORMALLY HE DOESN'T ACT THAT WAY, AND THE FAMILY HAS NEVER SEEN ME ACTUALLY HIT HIM. I mean, he's had spanks, a little swat or something. Once I had to take him away from the table, but they've never seen him scream out and have such a big freak out, you know. So they were all holding their breath, wondering what was going to happen next!)
26. IT SEEMS LIKE THAT ONE POTATO COULD HAVE PREVENTED THE WHOLE THING You've got to remember how a child thinks. He gets concentrated on one thing and that's what he's got on his mind. We don't always eat with the Family, as our schedule doesn't always fit theirs.
27. SO PROBABLY, LIKE YOU SAY, HE WAS GONNA PROUDLY SHOW DADDY AND MAMA HOW HE COULD FIX HIS OWN POTATO, and he had that all figured out in his little head—then instead of that you give him a bunch of beans and no potato! He was furious! He's got a very hot Latin temper!
28. (S: DID YOU KNOW THAT THE LAST TWO TIMES THAT WE'VE ACTUALLY SPANKED HIM, like swatted his bottom for not obeying or absolutely defying us on something, it's only been twice, I think since we've been in this house. The last two times, though‚ believe it or not, he's gotten so mad at me for swatting him!
29. ONCE IT WAS IN THE SCHOOL ROOM in front of another adult. He stood up, and for a moment he didn't cry at all, but he just stood up and glared at me like he just hated me! Then suddenly he screamed like he did last night! Then all of a sudden, his eyes got a little weak and he acted like he was almost going to faint‚ like he used to when he bumped his head.
30. (HE SCREAMED SO BIG AND HE GOT SO MAD THAT HE ALMOST FAINTED, to the point that I put my arms around him and prayed for him that he wouldn't faint!—And I thought, My Lord, what is this? And in a way, although it was anger, maybe it was also fear.) Yes, perhaps.
31. BUT HE IS ALSO YIELDING TO THE ENEMY IN WAY WHEN HE GETS LIKE THAT, WHICH IS NOT GOOD. (S: I put it in his log and on the progress report you'll get soon, but to me it seems like almost a fearful reaction. He's mad, but yet maybe he's fearful I'm going to spank him again for being so bad.
32. (I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS, BUT IT REALLY MADE ME CHECK MY HEART, IF I WAS REALLY JUSTIFIED IN SPANKING HIM at the time that I did. I think he needed the spank at the time, but his reaction scared me.) Well, it always makes you feel bad and wonder if you were too severe or you were too harsh or too quick.
33. (S: THE PEOPLE IN THE FAMILY GO EXACTLY BY THE PAST LETTER OF THE LAW and what's been drilled into them under Deb's childcare methods: "Teach 'no' at six months, spank hands at nine months, spank on the bottom at one year."—The "One–two-three" method. So then they get whacked immediately‚ rather than even warned or reasoned with, and it's not stressed to love them up afterwards.
34. (WHEREAS I KNOW WITH DAVIDITO, WE RESPECT HIM and his gifts in the Lord, and besides that, we treat him as a person and try to understand his way of thinking, so we try to reason with him and warn him and love him into obeying.
35. (BUT LAST NIGHT WAS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF HOW HE REALLY NEEDED A PUNISHMENT FOR OUTRIGHT DEFIANCE. He was warned, he was given opportunity to change, and he knew it was coming. But after he got it, he repented‚ which showed the "Peaceable fruits of righteousness." Heb.12:11) (Maria: I thought to myself,
36. ("OH, A BABY!—TO BE SENT TO HIS ROOM ALONE!—(Although it was right next to the room where we were.)—And the door almost closed!—I wonder how he'll take it, a 3-1/2-year-old!—But then I peeked in at him sitting there on the edge of his bed thinking about it, and he seemed like a teenager‚ not a baby!)
37. WHEN HE WAS SITTING IN HIS ROOM ALONE, THERE WERE TOO POSSIBILITIES: Of course, I was praying desperately that he'd get the victory, and sure enough the Lord worked on him and did the miracle! But I have known some children when you did that to absolutely throw a fit and start breaking and throwing everything in the room, virtually wrecking their room because they were so mad!
38. (S: WELL, FROM PAST EXPERIENCE HE KNEW YOU WOULD LOVE HIM UP AFTERWARDS IF HE REPENTED. He knew that we were doing it in love. Why would a child throw and smash things in his room?—Because he is hateful, vengeful and has no love nor release and no one understands him.) He wants to get back at you somehow.
39. (M: BUT HE JUST SAT ON HIS BED, STOPPED CRYING AND THOUGHT AND PRAYED ABOUT IT.) (S: I thought Alfred was going to start crying then, he gets so moved at those times.) I nearly cried myself. (S: I did too! I think the whole table, the whole Family was almost in tears!)
40. WELL, I FELT SORRY FOR HIM, BUT I JUST COULDN'T SEE HOW WE COULD POSSIBLY LET HIM GET AWAY WITH THAT KIND OF BEHAVIOR, especially when he is being a poor sample to the other children. I just didn't feel like we could let him get away with it‚ that's all, or he's going to start acting just like a little spoiled Prince for sure!
41. (S: WHENEVER I SEE HOW THE LORD LEADS YOU IN HANDLING DAVIDITO, I'M SO HAPPY, BECAUSE THE LORD ALWAYS USES IT AS AN EXAMPLE TO OTHERS. I saw this when the rest of the Family came to our room after it was all over and marveled about how it was handled!—Most of all‚ about how merciful you were and loving and making an extra step to love him up afterwards.
42. (AND LOOK HOW BEAUTIFULLY HE PULLED THROUGH! I didn't really expect him, with his stubborn attitude, to come back to the table!) That was absolutely a miracle of the Lord! That took a lot of courage and a lot of guts to come back and face that same audience!
43. YOU'D HAVE THOUGHT HE WOULD HAVE STAYED OUT AND NOT COME BACK AGAIN FOR ANYTHING!—Because we told him twice that if he'd be a good boy now, he could come back and eat, but he didn't want to. Well, then I sent the word that he didn't have to eat if he didn't want to.
44. (S: AND THEN YOU OFFERED TO DUMP GRAVY ON HIS MEAT, gravy‚ which he usually totally rejects‚ and he let you!) I didn't even know he didn't like gravy. (S: Maybe he does now! Maybe now he knows, because he tried it.—Ha!) (M: He even with every mouthful said, "Ummmmmmmm, good!") (S: That was real humble pie!) It proves he was really trying to please.
45. IN OTHER WORDS, THE LOVE AND MERCY BORE GOOD FRUIT. That's a miracle of the Lord! I was sure praying for him. I was nearly sick, I could hardly eat the rest of my supper! I just stuffed it down, I was so heart-sick!
46. YOU ALL DIDN'T SEE HIM, I THINK, WHEN HE FIRST CAME OUT OF HIS ROOM. He came out and sorta sneaked into the living room and looked at me, and I looked at him and smiled, and then he gave me a big embarrassed grin.
47. THEN HE RAN OVER AND FLOPPED DOWN ON THE COUCH AND LOOKED AT US like he was wondering what to do next, lying down on his stomach and elbows, chin on his hands, with a look like‚ "I know I've been a naughty boy and I'm sorry and I want to come back to the table‚" and he was giving me this embarrassed grin.
48. BUT I WAS DUMBFOUNDED! I thought, "Well, he doesn't want to stay alone in his room and he doesn't want to be left out, but still he's too embarrassed to come back to the table. So he's going to stay in the living room and play around and maybe try and get the other children to come play with him or something."
49. BUT I TRIED TO ACT REALLY NICE TO HIM, AND I SMILED AT HIM REAL SWEET, and I said, "You can come back to the table. You don't have to eat, if you don't want to eat, it's up to you." But then I told him, "You know, you're gonna be awfully hungry though if you don't eat."
50. BUT I TOOK IT REAL SLOWLY, and suddenly with a big grin he ran over to us and dove under the table and hid there! Then after awhile he came and stood beside me rather embarrassed, like his confession before all, looking at everybody as though to see what they thought. Then he let me hug and kiss and love him up!
51. WHEN HE FINALLY FOUND OUT THAT EVERYBODY STILL LOVED HIM‚ THEN AT LAST HE GOT UP THE COURAGE TO GET BACK UP IN HIS CHAIR. (S: When he's bad‚ he sort of cries without being able to stop, because it's almost like it's his release to get out all of his frustrations in that one cry‚ and in a way it's because he's really sorry.
52. (BUT USUALLY HE REALLY IS AN EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD LITTLE BOY MOST OF THE TIME. 2–year-old Baba is an example of a child who needs a lot more handling and guidance. She's not as cautious about things and she doesn't believe your word so much sometimes when you warn her about things. But he is usually real, real good, so whenever he does cry or get spanked or something, he really really cries!) Get's really upset. (S: Uh-huh, and holds grudges.)
53. IT JUST ALMOST MAKES ME CRY THINKING ABOUT HOW HE WAS SO BROKEN-HEARTED!—EVERYTHING WENT WRONG! It wasn't the way he had planned it at all. I didn't realise about the potato, so I can see now the whole thing: He had that all figured out how he was going to show us how good he was with a potato. I was so relieved when he got the victory so quickly and easily, so relieved to see him come back! He didn't want to be excommunicated. He didn't want to be exiled.
54. (S: SO I HOPE OTHER PARENTS REASON OUT AND PRAY ABOUT WHY IT HAPPENS AND HOW THEY CAN AVOID IT, you know. Respecting the child is a big part of it.) Putting those beans on his plate without his consent was really interfering with his program and insulting his right of choice. He didn't want anything to do with them. Nevertheless, it was very naughty to shove them off on the tablecloth, and he knew it.
55. I JUST COULDN'T LET HIM GET AWAY WITH THAT. (M: Neither does he like meat that much, and he probably knew from past experience that the roast is usually dry and tough!)
56. APPARENTLY PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT HAS REALLY BEEN OVER-EMPHASISIED IN THE FAMILY. Deborah was strong on that. (S: Yes, "Don't stop spanking until the child stops crying." But how can you stop crying when you're being spanked? "Make them eat every bite on their plate till they get up from dinner, and start spanking at one year.")
57. WELL‚ I'M AFRAID I USED TO BE LIKE THAT, BUT DAVIDITO HAS CHANGED A LOT OF THINGS! (S: Hallelujah!—He sure changed me!) Now that just shows that if the child is brought up the right way with a lot of love, you can reason with him more and he doesn't need so much physical castigation.
58. WELL‚ WHEN OUR FOUR CHILDREN WERE SMALL, they were pretty close together, a year-and-a-half to two years, and we almost had to run things like an army! We had to firmly discipline them we had so many and they were such high-powered personalities, we really had to be on their cases. I really had to throw the fear of God into them!
59. BUT DAVIDITO'S SO DIFFERENT AND SO SENSITIVE AND SO THOUGHTFUL, AND USUALLY SO GOOD. He is entirely a whole different case. He never did need a lot of corporal punishment. Some kids just don't respond to anything but a little physical [punishment].
60. (M: EACH CHILD'S DISCIPLINE MUST BE TAILORED FOR HIS PARTICULAR NEEDS, HIS INDIVIDUAL PERSONALITY.) Yes, a lot depends on the child and what really gets through to him. It just seems like nothing gets through to some kids except a good swat, and that's what it takes.
61. JONATHAN (HO) WAS A LOT MORE LIKE DAVIDITO. But with Paul (Aaron) it just seemed like nothing ever got through to him!—You just had to pound it in. And Linda (Deb), she was just almost impossible! Nothing got through to her‚ absolutely nothing!
62. IT DIDN'T MATTER‚ screaming, arguing, corporal punishment, spanking‚ it didn't matter what it was, scolding, deprivation, nothing! She was as stubborn and rebellious a little child as I ever saw in my life!—Just like her mother!
63. (S: WAS THAT BECAUSE MAYBE MOTHER WASN'T AS CONSISTENT IN DISCIPLINING HER AS YOU WERE, and so she felt like she had an escape through Mom?) Yes‚ so her harsh disciplinary methods with the Family's children, her own and others may have been because she realised that she had been a very difficult child and we really had to take very stern and harsh disciplinary measures with her, and she also realised that her mother had really spoiled her and let her get away with too much. So she, I think, was probably determined that she wasn't going to be that way with her kids and others.
64. IN A WAY, AS SHE GOT OLDER SHE ADMIRED ME MORE THAN HER MOTHER and admired my tactics, and realised that she really needed what she got from me, and that her mother had been too lenient on her and spoiled her too much. So she decided to sort of go my way on the disciplining of children instead of Mother's way.
65. HER MOTHER'S TACTICS WERE NEARLY ALWAYS EVASIVE, kind of work around the edge of the subject‚ don't hit it head on. Distract their attention, get their mind on something else, which in some ways is sometimes a very good tactic, but you're not solving the problem. You're letting the child get away with something. Just to keep him from getting upset you say,
66. "HERE, PLAY WITH THIS TOY INSTEAD.—Now, quit fighting with him over that one. Here, you take this one." See? Well now, that was one way to sort of avoid the issue and get them distracted from the real problem that he is fighting with his brother about‚ because they want to play with the same thing.
67. BUT IF YOU JUST SAY, "NOW HERE, YOU PLAY WITH THIS INSTEAD," THAT'S NOT REALLY TEACHING THEM ANYTHING, SEE? That's almost teaching them that crime pays! "If I fight over this one, then maybe Mother will give me another one," see? But that was often her tactic.
68. NOW SOMETIMES, IF IT'S SOMETHING THAT'S NOT TOO SERIOUS OR IMPORTANT, THAT'S A GOOD IDEA. If they haven't got into it too hot and heavy, why then it's sometimes wise to distract a child from the thing he's arguing or fighting about or the thing that he's insisting on doing that's wrong.
69. (M: YES, LIKE THE OTHER DAY—there were three wastebaskets and yet two-year–old Baba was fighting with our other little two-year-old girl‚ Davida, for hers. We showed them, "Well look, there's more wastebaskets—here's one for you—but that in a way was teaching her something. "Look, there are other wastebaskets, you don't have to take her wastebasket.")
70. YES, IF IT'S NOT SO SERIOUS, YOU CAN TRY TO DISTRACT THEM AND GET THEIR ATTENTION ELSEWHERE, their mind on something else. It often worked pretty well and sort of helped keep peace a lot of times. But on the other hand, sometimes I felt like it was letting them get away with something and not really hitting the problem head on and not really solving the thing.
71. THAT MIGHT AVOID TROUBLE FOR THE MOMENT, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FUTURE? Maybe you're not really teaching the child some of the things which he needs to learn in the way of discipline and what he should and shouldn't do. (M: Especially when he gets old enough to reason, like Davidito.
72. (WITH DAVIDITO YOU CAN SIT DOWN AND TALK TO HIM about it instead of distracting him. You can sit down and show him the spiritual principles and the reason why he's being bad, and help him be able to stop.)
73. (S: IN A WAY, IT SORT OF RELEASES HIS FRUSTRATIONS FOR HIM TO SEE THAT YOU UNDERSTAND.—Like when he was a year old and used to get so mad over his cracker. You would hand him a little cracker and he would just cherish it and put it in his mouth, but then when he'd bite it, it would break into two or three pieces and he'd just explode and throw it on the floor broken-hearted!
74. (NOW‚ MY FIRST REACTION AT THAT POINT WOULD HAVE BEEN THEN JUST TO WHACK HIM, because I was fresh out of the Bassetto military school Childcare Department: "You little brat! You're not thankful for your cracker‚ so you don't get another one!"
75. (BUT I WAS SHOCKED AND I LEARNED SO MUCH FROM ONE LITTLE SAMPLE when Maria offered him a cracker and I thought, "Oh no Lord, please don't let it break!" But he put it in his mouth and it broke and he screamed and cried! But Maria just squatted down beside him and said,
76. "WELL, HONEY, WHY ARE YOU CRYING? DID THAT MAKE YOU ANGRY THAT YOUR CRACKER BROKE?"—And he stopped crying like, "Oh‚ she understands! She understood exactly why I cried!" Then she said, "Why don't we share the next one" and she took half and he took half. It was already broken‚ so he was completely content, no problem‚ everything was taken care of! I thought, "Why didn't I think of that?"
77. (IT'S LIKE UNDERSTANDING HIM AND SYMPATHISING WITH HIM so as to avoid that kind of a crisis, help him.—And you know‚ he didn't seem to make a big scene over crackers breaking ever any more!)
78. HE'S FUNNY HOW CERTAIN THINGS ARE SO IMPORTANT TO HIM. We aren't able to spend much time with him, so apparently he really had his heart set on that potato and he was going to show off for us. He was so proud of what he could do with a potato, but we just messed up his whole program, ruined his whole show and embarrassed him before everybody, and he was just heartbroken! He looked from one to the other, like.
79. "WHO LOVES ME? DOESN'T ANYBODY LOVE ME?" It was really pitiful! Ah, I was so relieved afterward when I saw him come into the living room and run around hiding behind the chairs and popping out and grinning at me embarrassedly.
80. THEN I KNEW HE HAD GOTTEN THE VICTORY! PTL! And when he finally came back to the table, that was a miracle!—And to finally get back up there on his chair and try to eat again, even gravy, which he's not supposed to like‚ that was almost unbelievable! Anyway‚ there I was, trying to make his food better for him by putting gravy on it, and he ate it!
81. (M: YOU SHOW SO MUCH LOVE FOR HIM! Many adults have a double standard, a more strict one for their children than they do for themselves! They don't sit there for hours until they finish their meal if they don't like it. They leave something if they feel like they're too full or they don't have an appetite.)
82. (S: WE HAVE STRESSED IN THE FAMILY SOME GENERAL RULES ABOUT DISCIPLINE. Deborah stressed, number one, be spirit-led; number two, be consistent; plus her little laws about when to [discipline] them and everything.—And that's a wide-spread teaching. Our parents don't really know how to be Spirit-led in some situations.)
83. (M: YES, THEIR IDEA SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN, "BE SPIRIT-LED, BUT [DISCIPLINE] THEM!" Sometimes you can't relate the two.) (S: In some situation, I might make him sit there and finish eating every bite. Just like the time that he asked me for eggs.
84. (I MADE THEM, BUT THEN HE DIDN'T WANT THEM. So then he asked me for a grilled cheese sandwich instead, which I made‚ but he didn't want that either. So then‚ I made him sit there and eat that sandwich, and he learned his lesson from it, I hope.
85. (BUT IT'S ALSO A MATTER OF LOVING HIM UP AND FORGIVING HIM AFTERWARD THAT REALLY BEARS GOOD FRUIT.) Well, he is so mature in some ways and beyond his age‚ that you just almost have to‚ at his stage, sort of let him have his choice of foods, let him pick what he wants.
86. BUT THEN WHEN HE HAS CHOSEN IT, like you said about the sandwich, I think you ought to expect im to eat it, and let him know you are displeased if he doesn't. Give him a little lecture about it and try to get him to do it. (M: But if he doesn't,
87. (WE CAN'T LAY DOWN A BLANKET RULE ON HOW TO ALWAYS DEAL WITH HIM IN EVERY CASE. I choose my own food too, but then sometimes I find that I chose too much, and instead of just stuffing it down and making myself sick‚ it's much better not to eat it.
88. (THERE ARE SO MANY SIDES TO DISCIPLINE, it's a many faceted subject. You can't always just lay down specific or even general rules for every situation and every child. He put those pieces of meat in his mouth with the gravy on‚ and as he chewed them said,
89. ("MMMMMMMMM, GOOD!" Then when he found he couldn't chew it, he took them out of his mouth, and put them back on his plate.—But he really did try to please.) I guess it was too tough for him. I had a hard time chewing it myself.
90. SO THEN I FELT SORRY FOR HIM AND OFFERED HIM A BANANA and after that an oatmeal cookie, both of which he gratefully accepted. Well, frankly, I think almost every child is a separate individual case and you can't make any set rules for everybody in every situation.
91. A LOT DEPENDS ON THE CHILD: JONATHAN (HO) WAS SO MUCH LIKE DAVIDITO! He was eager to cooperate, eager to obey, he was never destructive nor really terribly disobedient nor stubborn. If anything, he just went overboard trying to please, and was nearly always happy and smiling.
92. REALLY, IN SOME WAYS, HE WAS MORE CHEERFUL THAN DAVIDITO. He wasn't as sober and serious as Davidito. But he was very sensitive to discipline.—All you had to do was look at him or point your finger at him and he'd stop.
93. ALL HE NEEDED TO KNOW WAS THAT HE WAS NOT ON THE RIGHT TRACK or you were displeased, because the last thing in the world that he wanted to do was to displease you and not have you love him, because he really needed a lot of love and affection.—A lot like Davidito. Some children are like that.
94. OTHER CHILDREN IT DOESN'T SEEM TO MATTER WHAT YOU DO! You could beat them over the head, but nothing seems to impress them!—It's pitiful! But be careful: Too much harsh discipline and violence and corporal punishment is not good for a child!
95. (S: IT'S JUST LIKE YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW WITH A CHILD. But if anything, the parents seem to need some kind of encouragement that they should try through prayer and patience to fully understand the child's situation and respect him in such a way as to help him through his trials in the same way you would one another, knowing that spankings are certainly Scriptural and certainly needed in many situations.
96. (BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, PUT YOURSELF IN THE CHILD'S PLACE AND YOU MIGHT HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF HIS PROBLEM.) (M: And think about how the Lord deals with us, too. He doesn't spank us every day and every time we turn around over every little mistake we make. He reasons with us and keeps on having mercy after mercy after mercy and warning us all the time before He finally lowers the rod. He's not giving us spankings every day.)
97. THE LORD DOESN'T GIVE US A SPANKING EVERYTIME WE GO ASTRAY. He usually loves us up and loves us back into the fold or the will of God, or He shames us sometimes. (S: Right! Love is so convicting! Because if you have Jesus, you try to get back on the right path and you try to show good fruits of repentance like Davidito did last night.)
98. [CORPORAL PUNISHMENT] IS ONLY A TOTALLY LAST RESORT WHEN ALL ELSE HAS FAILED. (M: I think this is such a good verse I was just reading last night: "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged."—Pr.16:6.
99. (THAT'S A GOOD GUIDELINE FOR DISCIPLINE, MERCY AND TRUTH, LIKE LOVE AND REASONING AND THE FACTS.)—Especially with a child like Davidito, who's a thinker and really analyzes things and really judges a situation—and judges you and thinks about how things ought to be, how he thinks they ought to be.
100. HE HAS A VERY STRONG SENSE OF RIGHT AND WRONG and how he thinks things ought to be and what he feels is right, and if you don't treat him the way he thinks is right, then he gets really upset!
101. (S: BECAUSE HIS REQUESTS ARE NOT UNREASONABLE‚ USUALLY‚ YOU KNOW?—Like if you just suddenly stopped him from his busy work and said, "Okay, time for nap!"—and abruptly start yanking his clothes off and popping him into the bed without sort of building up to the subject, then he's going to resist, you know?
102. (BUT I THINK I WOULD TOO! If Alfred came to my typewriter and said, "Okay, time for lunch!" and just ripped me away from the typewriter and didn't give me five more minutes to finish up! What if I just said, "Alfred, but wait a minute, Alfred!" but he just turns around and swats me and snaps‚ Don't talk back!"
103. (NOW THAT'S NOT THE WAY WE TREAT ONE ANOTHER, BUT YET IN A WAY THIS IS THE TREATMENT WE GIVE THE CHILDREN.) (M: Yes, there's such a double standard!) It's sort of a lack of patience, really. We don't take time to really explain and talk and reason or love‚ we just quickly want them to "Do it right now and don't talk back!—Just because I said so!"
104. SO REALLY WE NEED A LOT MORE LOVE AND PATIENCE AND PRAYER AND REASONING WITH OUR CHILDREN if we're going to really teach them why they must do so-and-so and help them understand why it's necessary. Not always just say, "Do it!" and swat them if they don't.
105. "TRAIN UP A CHILD IN THE WAY HE SHOULD GO." (Pr.22:6.)—It takes time and patience and understanding and lots of real love to train a child, instead of just knocking him around and violently forcing him to do things he doesn't understand or thinks are not right or unfair.
106. YOU MUST LOVE AND TRY TO SHOW HIM WHY and try to get his willing co-operation through understanding and reasoning with him as the Lord does us. Then only after repeated warnings and repeated willful defiant disobediences and an absolute refusal to obey, are you justified in using loving force—as God does!
107. EVEN GOD'S SPANKINGS ARE PROOF OF HIS LOVE AND DONE IN LOVE!" For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth!" Read it!—Hebrews 12:5-13.—It's a wonderfully encouraging Scripture!—That God's spankings are proofs He loves you!—And you must show your children this also‚ that it's for their own good and because you love them.
108. IF YOU REALLY LOVE THEM AND HAVE WON THEIR LOVE, THEY WILL KNOW THIS BECAUSE THEY LOVE AND TRUST YOU. They'll soon repent of their wrongdoing and look for your forgiveness and love again and want to do right and really try very hard to please—like Davidito did last night.
109. BECAUSE HE KNEW I LOVED HIM AND FORGAVE HIM because he was so sorry—that was so evident he didn't even have to say it! PTL! "Love never fails!"—Try it! You'll love it!—And so will your children! GBY! WLY! God is Love!—And love conquers all! "The greatest of these is love!" (1Cor.13.—Read it!)—Amen?