One of the parts of discipline that I’ve been noticing I need more work on is instruction. I often err by assuming my children should know some thing or another, and as a result become angry when they don’t meet my expectations. One simple solution is to take the time to teach what I expect. Sharing Scripture is essential, but I’m finding that there’s often a practical component that is useful to share as well.
David and Bethel both like to tease each other. Sometimes the teasing is welcome, but lately I’ve been getting a lot of the unwelcome teasing around here. We’ve talked about how love behaves (from I Corinthians 13): love is kind, love is patient, love is not selfish, and so on, and I try to make the connection between their behavior and the Scripture. Not all teasing is unkind and selfish, though, so I’ve been trying to be more consistent when I respond to actually make the distinction. I do ask, Is that teasing kind? or Is David enjoying that teasing? and I try not to expect them to know ahead of time what teasing is going to be welcome. Still, it’s been a recurring source of tears around our house, and I’m thinking that maybe my lack of instruction has been a part of the problem.
Last night after dinner, Lee was handing Bethel a very much desired segment of orange. Each time she reached for it, Lee pulled it away as Bethel giggled. After a few times, Lee handed her the orange. In a flash of inspiration, I asked David, Was that good teasing or bad teasing? How do you know? I received the light in his eyes and a smile as he answered correctly. I realized that I’ve been teaching from the bad example only (don’t do that) instead of also using the positive example.
We’ll see if it makes a difference!