Yesterday morning I sort-of blew up at my children. Not really. I didn't yell or holler, I just really lectured them about certain bad behaviors. I was interrupted for the umpteenth time, and I had just had it. Caroline bore the major brunt of my (righteous) wrath, but Mary and Bobby each got a dose of talking-to also. They were remorseful and asked forgiveness, which I freely gave. We all agreed that there are several things we need to work on in our family: interrupting, complaining, arguing, and general unpleasantness to name a few. (I'm sure there are other families dealing with these issues, too.) Eric and I try to keep the bar high as far as behavioral expectations go, and we both have felt with the stress of the past few months that the standards have slipped some.
After our "fun" disciplinary moments, the kids and I were off to a "Mad Science" demonstration at a local public library (we love the "summer reading program" stuff!)
It was there that I realized what great kids I actually have. Watching many of the other children stand when told to sit, talk when told to be quiet, poke and annoy those around them, call out smarty answers, sigh with "boredom" and roll their eyes, and generally be total brats made me realize that my children are really pretty well-behaved kids. It was encouraging to me to see them sitting politely, being interested (and it really was a COOL presentation by the "Mad Science" ladies,) and treating others with respect. My friend Chandra was there with me, with three of her children, and they behaved wonderfully, too.
As we drove away from the library I thanked my children for behaving so well, and told them that they not only pleased me with their behavior but also honored the Lord. I was so thankful for their witness through their behavior. I guess what I can learn from this is the value of keeping the bar high, and the necessity of consistent discipline. It also has great bearing on my own life as the Lord molds and shapes me, disciplining me consistently, too. Sometimes it's painful, but I know He is working to make me more like Him.