We have a prize in our home. The superglue prize. My kids don’t really like it. Some days (I’ll be honest here), some days I don’t really like it either. It takes patience. The kind of patience that is similar to withstanding dripping water. And time. Goodbye productivity. Add some gracious love. Bestowing love on an undeserving wretch. Now add some strength. Meek and gentle. Strong and soft. Last, but most importantly, it requires regeneration. This prize is nothing I could give in my own human wretchedness. The motivation for this prize must come from reveling in the gift of newness that I have in Christ.
Do you ever have a child who makes sinful choice after sinful choice? Or one who throws fit after fit? Or one who you just can’t seem to reach with your ordinary disciplinary measures? I do. Several in fact. I have one who believes screaming is the answer to everything. I have one who turns into a child’s rendition of catlike stubbornness when I’m not playing by her rules. I have one with a hard heart who refuses to bend her will to anyone else’s. And I have another one who simply gets exasperated by obedience. Well then! It’s time for the superglue prize!
This prize is often earned in the afternoon or evening. When children are tired and hearts are hardening. When homework or chore time, play time or dinner prep simply does not go according to the children’s most precious desires. It’s earned when the stubbornness remains unbroken. Or when the heart is hardening in anger. When multiple conversations. Time outs. Time ins. Fitting consequences. Removed privileges. Hand holding. Extra naps. When none of the typical string of behavior changing, child loving, heart affecting discipline is working. It’s time for the superglue prize.
The Superglue Prize:
Where a child must remain “stuck” to hubby or I’s side for a pre-determined amount of time. Doing what we are doing. Seeing what we are seeing. Being where we are being.
This is not a vindictive, punitive, or exasperating prize. It is not a prize of ranting or re-telling the child’s wrong-doings. It is not a prize where the goal is to make the child as miserable as possible. Or a prize of making them “pay” for the ways they have sinned.
It is, rather, a prize of grace. A prize of love. A prize of reaching out and showering love on an undeserving, often unrepentant child. It is a prize that whispers, “You are my child, and I love you with an unending love.” It is a prize that mimics the love of our Father. A love that loves when we hate. A love that gives when we take. A love that draws us close when we are running away.
Note: This prize does not replace consequences for sinful behavior. There will always be consequences given in response to our choices. This is an extra prize.
My children always groan and moan. Or stomp and shout. They do not want this prize when it is given. Rebellion never wants to associate with love. Resistance never wants to succumb to peace. And so they fight and fume. Cry and melt. They want to be far, far away. And so we draw them close.
Draw them close.
In love and kindness.
This time is precious. Although this prize often puts a halt to my plans for the day I have come to love these times.
It is a time of teaching. Mommy is cleaning the bathroom. Let me teach you how. It is a time of sharing. Mommy is reading her Bible. Sit close to me and read yours. It is a time of learning. Mommy gets to hear her child begin to open up. Begin to share and chatter. It is a time of special snuggles. This child gets the seat closest to Mommy. The choice place snuggled next to her on the couch. It is a time of healing. Mommy often gets to hear the heart of her children. Sometimes through angry expression. Sometimes through repentance. Sometimes through tears. It is a time of refreshment. My children leave this time calm. Secure. Settled. And so do I. It is a time of reminder. Mommy’s heart is so often rebellious. This child reminds her of the ugliness of her own heart, and the way her Father draws her back into loving fellowship with Him.
So, that’s the superglue prize. It might just be my favorite prize. And, although my children have never admitted it… I think they might like it too.