Discipline: The bane of the cane
Ever since we introduced the cane into the discipline repertoire of the little berry a few weeks back, I’ve been harboring lots of thoughts over it…
The cane, whilst effective to an extent (because it hurts), has the potential to become a shortcut measure for us.
Don’t want to lie down and nap? Cane.
Scream before it’s morning time? Cane.
Don’t want to pick up the things you dropped on the floor? Cane.
I often find myself questioning whether we have indeed exhausted all other ways of getting through to the little berry before we bring the cane into the picture.
I think we were wary of this previously, and have tried to use the cane as a last resort. But when we are tired from lack of sleep, or frustrated from the many other things we have to handle, or reached the end of our patience or tolerance, or God forbid, we had a bad day and “don’t have time for her nonsense”; we tend to whip out the cane rather quickly, often before we had the chance to run through other discipline options like time-out or withdrawal of privileges from her.
One of the most important lessons we’ve learnt in disciplining a child is this – aim for inward change, not just outward behavioral adjustments. And I fear that the cane has become a convenient tool for us to get what we want: a well-behaved child who doesn’t scream, picks up after herself, naps on schedule, etc. With the cane, we see results immediately, with one whip, the little berry cries in pain and obeys our instructions.
But where do we draw the line?
Are we misusing the cane because it’s a convenient tool? Have we abandoned all other methods of discipline because they’re too time-consuming and may not be as effective?
Have we taken into consideration the context surrounding her misbehavior and carefully thought about giving grace instead of caning?
Are we creating in the little berry an unhealthy fear of the cane, or a healthy fear of authority?
We need much wisdom in this matter… Dear Lord, you are perfectly loving yet also the perfect disciplinarian. Please show us what to do. You give grace and you are infinitely patient, show us when we should choose to give grace, and when we should discipline. Lord, help us paint a loving picture of how you would discipline us to our daughter. We desperately need your help in this, in Jesus’ name amen.