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The boys came tumbling in the door, Tyler wailing and Tucker following closely behind to tell his side.  From what I could deduce, they had been jumping on somebody’s trampoline, their silliness took over, somebody hit somebody, and then somebody hit back.

The somebodies are both my children.  And one somebody had stripes of fingerprints on his cheek from a slap across the face.

Didn’t we already cover this?  Didn’t we establish that fighting will never be acceptable in this home, in our family?

Sometimes there isn’t enough testosterone in this house.  My estrogen just doesn’t know what to do with male instincts and reactions.

I sent Tyler to take a bath, though he was sure he was too beat up to bathe, and he intended to tell his classmates the next day that they would need to be so careful with him.  No dice, buddy.  Get in the bath tub.

Tucker sat at the table and wrote sentences: I will be kind with my words and my hands.  Maybe that’s a lame consequence, but having never been in a fight, I’m not sure what the natural consequence is.  And when I’m at a loss, I’m pretty much going to rely on the pen and paper.

We talked at bedtime, me and each of my boxers who were now disqualified from the ring.  “Buddy, you have Jesus in you.  That means he has given you his Holy Spirit, and that means you have a special, important power in you.”

“Yes.  The power to be stronger than anyone else.  I’m tough, you know.”

“Actually, it’s the power to do the right thing.  Your body may want to do the wrong thing, like punch your brother or someone else, but your heart knows the right thing to do.  You have a spirit of self control.  We need to work on listening to that spirit and making the best decisions.”

Kisses.  Hugs.  Water cups.  Repeat.

It takes many years for God to cultiave a man after his own heart.  He doesn’t do it in just six or seven years.  But he starts there.


p.s. This morning, I stepped into a puddle in my kitchen.  Why?  Because they were filling up water balloons with the water dispenser on the refrigerator.  I thought they were packing their lunches; silly me, assuming obedience is the default.  Some say water isn’t considered a mess.  I say, if I have to change my socks, we have an issue.  But maybe that’s the estrogen talking again.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. “And when I’m at a loss, I’m pretty much going to rely on the pen and paper.”
    I loved this sentence. It’s not a lame consequence as sometimes visual consequences help make the point stick. Keep up the good work! They are growing and it sounds like you’re doing well!

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