Growth Spurts: Training
There are days when I don’t feel like doing all that is required of me as a parent–particularly in the area of discipline. Some days I am just really tired, and I think, “I only want to love my kids, not discipline them.”
Now, don’t read discipline as punish. Punishment may certainly be involved, but there is much more to discipline than that. A better word for discipline might be train. And if you’ve ever been in training for anything, you know that skipping days can really set you back. And so we step up, lean in, and keep on training, even when we don’t feel like it. Because the end results are usually worth the effort.
Whether they realize it or not, my kids are, in fact, in training. My husband and I are training them to become independent adults. Usually the trainees are the weary ones, but I feel that in the case of parenting, the trainers are equally (if not more) weary. And since we are the ones responsible for keeping the training going, we really have to dig deep some days to regain our motivation and endurance. And many (Read: all) days, my husband and I have to give each other a pep talk to remind ourselves why we are doing what we do. And some days, we encourage each other to take a much-needed break from the action, so that we can come back onto the training field with a better perspective and fresh energy.
On those days while we are digging deep to find our motivation and energy, we battle the “Wouldn’t it be easier…” thoughts.
Wouldn’t it be easier just to clean that up myself?
Wouldn’t it be easier just to let them eat whatever they want, whenever they want it?
Wouldn’t it be easier just to say, “Stop” or “No” or “Because I said so” and never give them any further explanation?
Wouldn’t it be easier just to let them fight, without trying to teach them how to communicate and work things out?
Wouldn’t it be easier just to let them stay glued to their screens all day every day?
Wouldn’t it be easier just to forget about the rules altogether?
Wouldn’t it be easier just to let them have their way?
Easier? Maybe. Better? Definitely not. Because if you take the easy route, you end up with spoiled, entitled, undisciplined kids who become spoiled, entitled, undisciplined adults. And these are not people that anyone wants to be around for very long.
Fellow parents/trainers, are you feeling weary today? Remind yourself of the goal. Remind yourself of the importance of all this work, all the discipline. You may be at the very beginning of this journey, but don’t think that your two-year-old is too young to start training. I assure you, they are not. (In fact, the younger they start training, the better.) Remind yourself that easier is not better.
And on those days when I am whispering to myself that “I only want to love my kids, not discipline them,” I will remind myself that to discipline them, to train them, IS to love them.
Carrie Bevell Partridge is thankful for all the work her parents put in as her personal trainers.