I realize now that I posted about my kids and their cruel trick on their baby brother but haven't had a chance to update on how everything went. It went amazingly well. I heard a lot of feedback but the one that really resounded with me was one saying that rather than make it a consequence make it a time to bring them back to the Word and the Father's heart, a learning experience. That is what I had wanted anyway, a learning experience. Alot of prayers for wisdom, the right words and softened hearts, later this is what I came up with. First, the consequence part was that though we still went to the park with our friend the next day, we had to leave before lunch. So instead of staying for another hour and eating and playing with our friend, we left when the kids started getting hungry.
The lesson part however came later. I informed the kids early in the day that there would be no tv in the afternoon and that the time that we usually spend watching a movie would on that day be spent reflecting on what they did that was unkind and ways that they could practice kindness. I must say that anyone who wishes to discipline their children must himself be disciplined. I did NOT want to forgo movie time, that is also called "mommy's nap time" and believe me I was EXHAUSTED on that day. I sacrificed my nap but was rewarded with much better than sleep. I put JJ down for his nap and grabbed chairs for the boys, my Bible, a pen and a notebook. Ok guys, time to think about why we are sitting here all together talking. We talked about how it feels when someone is unkind to us and about how actions effect a lot of people. We talked about reasons that we should treat others with kindness and respect. Then I pulled out my Bible and we looked up verses about being kind. We discussed the golden rule as something that was not just made up by teachers to sound nice but was something Jesus said first (Matthew 7:12). We discussed how we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19) and that we forgive others because Jesus forgives us(Ephesians 4:32). We talked about Eph 4:29 "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only that which is helpful for the building up of others that it may benefit those who listen." We talked about the command to "love the Lord your God with all of your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself."(Matthew 22:37-40) As we read scripture after scripture I told the boys that we were all as a family going to memorize a verse about kindness and that they could pick which one we did. They picked Proverbs 11:17 "A kind man benefits himself but a cruel man brings trouble on himself." We wrote it out and taped it (per their choice) to their bedroom door.
During all of this Ev stopped me, "Mommy, can you hold on a minute? I just need to pray to Jesus for a minute." He, completely unprompted, got down on his knees and bowed his face to the ground. I could only catch small parts of his prayer but I did catch, "Dear Jesus.....and help me to be nice to people." A few minutes later he disappeared behind the bookcase door with a pillow covering himself up. I told him to get out of there. I told him a couple of times. Finally he comes out and says, "Mommy, why did you imperup (interrupt) me when I was talking to Jesus?"
We ended the conversation with the three of us praying together, lots of hugs, a few tears, some apologies, and overall a time that I knew the Lord had honored with my children. JJ has torn the scripture off the door but the older two keep telling me that they know our memory verse and have been repeating it perfectly (with the exception that Ev always says Proverbs 26 instead of Proverbs 11:17!) Will came to me on Monday and asked me if we could look up more Bible verses and write them down and put them on our walls because he really likes "being able to see the Word of God all over my walls." I laughed and then took him over to my kitchen sink where I personally have note cards with scripture hanging so that I also am constantly reminded of the Word. Oddly, my verses are almost all about my words as well (Psalm 34:12-13"Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies." Ephesians 4:29 "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." and Proverbs 10:19 "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.") Hmmmm, imagine that!