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Correcting is a form of love

Originally Appeared in : 9922-10/24/19

When you have a lot of kids like we do, you find yourself estimating how many kids fit in certain spaces. Four kids per side at a picnic table. Two kids per step. Three kids per row in the van, but usually only two because they “just won’t keep their hands to themselves.”

 

For the record, we can fit five kids on our hearth in the living room.

 

I discovered that rare piece of Wikipedia fodder as I meandered back into the house during the last day of Fall break. I also learned that Magan has the power to prevent five sets of eyes from looking dead into hers when she’s making a point about keeping up with chores and generally doing right.

 

The tongue lashing was swift and without remorse. I’ll spare you the gruesome details, except to say I had children asking, “What can I do to help, daddy?” for the rest of the day. It was like having a bunch of little Chick-Fil-A people running around, if some of those people had tried to wipe their noses while playing in the dirt.

 

Ruthie and Noah had avoided a similar lashing—Ruthie being a surprisingly handy helper with picking up, and Noah just happening to be away at school.

 

The little kids overheard Magan and me crafting a similar laundry list of concerns for our oldest and, like any siblings, were more than willing to have someone join them in their misery.

 

Nightfall had become Magan’s enemy, though, with sundown (and a Unisom to help her fight first trimester nausea) sending her to slumber in the recliner around 8 p.m. each night. In a show of solidarity, I decided to wait until we were both alert and prepared for the discussion of roles and responsibilities with our oldest.

 

Wednesday came, which included my return to work and Noah’s return to class, but my failure to address corrective measures with Noah wasn’t lost on the rest of the assembly.

 

“Did y’all talk to Noah?” Simon quizzed Magan.

 

“No,” Magan replied.

 

“I figured,” he continued. “He sure was in a good mood this morning.”

 

Nightfall approached again and, unlike the day before, I wasn’t going to let the chance pass to complete our character realignment program.

 

Out of respect to my near-adult, I’ll spare you the details except to say Simon did not have to pose his question the next morning.

 

Despite popular 17-and-under opinion to the contrary, the last thing Magan and I enjoy doing is disciplining our kids. In fact, as I’ve told them, it hurts.

 

We’d love nothing more than to hang out with our kids and have fun, but the vocation of parenthood calls us to rear our children into men and women of God...who pick up after themselves...who don’t poke and tease each other...and who are focused on Christ’s plan for their lives.

 

Parents represent a very real part of God’s relationship with each of us. Parents love unconditionally, just like God. Parents put their children before themselves, just like God did by sending Christ to earth. Parents must also be prepared to correct bad behavior and habits, much like God has done in so many biblical examples. Ever read Numbers?
God made it clear that his correction is a form of love and a form of love parents should try to emulate.

 

“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19).

 

I’m not gonna lie, it’s been nice to have people acting like human beings to their siblings, and doing chores without the need to shout “Who’s job is it to sweep the floor?” but the real peace of mind will ultimately come in knowing that our children won’t have to sit on the hearth in heaven.

 

From what I’ve heard it sits a heap more people than ours, and the punishment is a heap worse than scouring a bathroom.

 

Jason Halcombe has five sons and two daughters. He and his wife, Magan, are members of Immaculate Conception Church, Dublin.

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