Tonight's setting was the same. I was in the office while the boys played innocently--or so I thought. When I went in to wash them up, lo and behold, another bubble bath. The good news is that is was nowhere near as big as the first and the soap bottle was still full.
My first instinct was to yell at them. Thankfully, I stopped myself and asked calmly instead, "What did I tell you when we bought the soap?"
"Not to make a bubble bath."
"That's right. But you didn't listen. So what do you think should happen?"
That completely caught me off guard! But it reminded me that the whole purpose of discipline is to teach, not just punish.
"And what does that mean?"
"You don't do it again."
Someone has been listening to his Primary teacher after all. Sometimes gospel teaching can feel pointless when kids are being irreverent and not paying attention. Every Sunday I ask my son what he learned that day in Primary and he rarely can tell me. But this moment showed me things do get heard and understood and we shouldn't give up on teaching no matter how fruitless it seems.
"That's right. So what are you going to do next time?"
"Take a little bit of soap and wash myself!"
Very cute. We reviewed repentance and I let him choose his punishment for disobeying. I told him we would get a bottle of bubble bath to make everyone happy. Then when he said his bedtime prayer, I had him ask Heavenly Father for forgiveness. It ended up being a very valuable experience for both of us. I'm glad I didn't stick with my original urge that would have ruined the night for everyone. I hope I remember this moment next time I feel frustrated and turn it into another opportunity for gospel application instead.
Sharing Time: Share a time when you were able to use a disciplinary situation to reinforce gospel principles with your children.