Sometimes we expect our kids to behave perfectly. We have trouble remembering what we were like when we were their age. Before we were taught or faced consequences that refined our behavior, we most likely made the same mistakes they are making. When I was a boy, I was different than I am now. While I may be more compliant these days, I certainly wasn’t back then. In addition, I had a bit of a temper so I actually got in trouble a lot while I was growing up.
My father was always there to guide me and he used various styles of discipline. As I think about the most trouble I ever got in as a child, there are two incidents that stand out in my mind. Here’s what they were, how my dad responded, and what I learned.
The Collection Plate
The first one happened when I six or seven years old. My grandfather was a minister and I actually took money out of the collection plate. I just thought it was money sitting there for the taking that I could put to good use. My grandfather found out about it and told my dad. I learned a lot about honesty and integrity in a very tough way. I’m not going to say exactly how I was disciplined, but I knew quickly afterward that it is important to not take something that isn’t mine and to tell the truth.
The second time I got into the biggest amount of trouble was when I was in the ninth grade. I got thrown out of a middle school basketball game for fighting. My dad didn’t believe that was an appropriate way to act. Since I was older, this time he was able to reason with me. He talked to me about what happened, what I got out of it, and the consequences. Every time our kids do something wrong, it is an opportunity to teach the how to examine their behavior. That’s exactly what my dad did. My dad was a great teacher. He had different ways of getting his message across. I feel blessed to have had him as a father. I realized that my actions didn’t help my teammates or my family name. Instead, I did a lot of damage. My dad showed me that it was not smart and it is one of the last times I ever lost my temper at an athletic event.