Mama, Thank You for Disciplining Me
Several years ago one of our boys suggested that we take a few minutes at our family birthday celebrations and each of us share something we love or respect about the birthday person. We’ve done that ever since and wow. Just wow. It has been incredible to hear every member of the family express out loud those things that most folks never say to the people they love – and end up regretting not saying it. It’s a time that encourages you and humbles you all at once.
It was my turn the other night.
One of our adult sons started off in a curious way, “Mom, what I’ve got to say is probably going to shock you.” Huh? I braced myself.
“When I think about the things I appreciate most about you, it’s how you disciplined me.”
“Mama, you taught me to do right. You taught me to be honest. The things you taught me all those times when I was in trouble have helped me to know what to do as a man. When I was tempted to overstate the hours I’d worked by just a little, I couldn’t. You taught me to always tell the truth. When I was tempted to make excuses for missing a deadline, I remembered that you taught me to take responsibility and I did. Mom, I am so thankful you held me accountable when I did wrong, that you punished me, and taught me, and forgave me. You taught me to follow God’s Word. You made me do right. I know it couldn’t have been easy, but I am who I am because of you.”
Y’all. I wept. You see, this son was a real challenge when he was a preteen. He always took the easy way out. He shirked his responsibilities. He even cheated or lied if he could get away with it. Once, I found out he’d been faking doing his math for…well, I don’t even want to admit how long. Let’s just say 11 years old was a rough age with this guy. I worried about him so much, prayed for him, and disciplined him (what felt like) constantly.
And now. Now, those days are in the distant past. He’s a man. A good man. A godly man.
Mama, if you’re like me, sometimes you feel like there just is no hope. Sometimes you feel like your discipline and your teaching just isn’t getting through to them. You have to deal with them doing the same thing over and over and over. You wonder, “What’s the point? It’s not doing any good anyway.” You wonder if you are losing them.
Maybe you are. It’s easy to break the parent-child relationship during those challenging years when the hormones are flowing and wisdom seems like a pipe dream. They are just SO annoying! It’s easy to get angry, hurt, and frustrated to the point that you’re losing it just like they do. Don’t do it. Don’t let it happen.
Just keep on going. Keep your temper. Don’t let it become personal. Remember they’re struggling, too. Remember this is about them and God, not about you. Be calm. Be judicious. Listen. Point them to Christ. And keep holding them accountable. Because some day you are probably going to have that child that’s driving you batty say the same thing with tears in his eyes, “Mama, thank you for disciplining me.”
Her children rise up and call her blessed… Proverbs 31:28a
God is so good. He can take our pitiful efforts to serve Him in our parenting and turn them into heart-bursting joy. I am not a perfect mother, not by anyone’s standard. I’ve had an awful struggle with my temper and controlling my tongue, too. God changes us, though, in ways we never imagined were possible.
I’ll bet one day your children will rise up and call you blessed, too, Mama, if you don’t give up. If God can use me in my kids’ lives, He can use anybody!
If you’ve got a child in that crazy-making age and you’re thinking, “I’ve got to get some help!” we’re starting a new LIVE session of our Boot Camp 9-12, an online master class for parents of kids from nine to their early teens, next week and I think it’d be a real help to you. It’s interactive, so you can ask us all your questions! It’s really one of the most encouraging things we do. Check it out here.
Or, grab our new book — No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope!