This past weekend, my family and I decided to go out and celebrate Mother's Day on Saturday night so that we could beat the crowds on Sunday. We all piled into the car and I anticipated a wonderful meal prepared by someone else...and cleaned up by someone else. That's when the bickering started. Most mother's can identify. "Mom, he's touching me." "I wasn't doing nothing!" Back and forth, back and forth with me asking them to please stop. Then something inside me made me think, enough is enough. If I don't put my foot down now, this will never end. I looked at my husband and told him, "It's not to late to turn around. Let's go home." Yes, we turned around and drove home with both kids fussing and fuming. "Mom, we were stopping. We didn't mean it." On and on they went...all the way home. We got home and ate frozen pizza...and the funniest thing happened. Peace came back into the house.
This isn't the first time my kids have pushed me to the point when I had to take a stand...obviously I don't do it nearly enough or we wouldn't have had to turn the car around that night. But every time I "draw the line", peace comes back into our home....not just in the circumstances around us, but inside us as well. That's because correction brings peace.
Right now, I'm pretty sure anyone under 18 reading this would shout out, "No it doesn't!" No one seems to like to be corrected, but maybe that's because we don't understand true correction. I didn't turn that car around because I wanted to go home....I did it because I saw a dangerous pattern emerging that needed to end before it became a habit. We went home because I love my kids.
I also know that correction brings peace because of personal experience....it happened this week as a matter of fact. I was in a pretty bad funk. I was mad at my students, frustrated with those that didn't seem to care and a bureaucracy that required me to test and be held accountable for the results from kids who didn't seem to care. I fussed and fumed for a whole day...and then God sent correction. First it was from my "Facebook" friends who sent encouraging words..."this is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!" Another friend reminded me to treasure every day, I do not know how many I have been entrusted with. Then, I heard it. That still small voice inside that said "Don't despise the harvest I have given you." Okay, there aren't words to explain how it felt hearing that. I realized I was angry and frustrated with the very harvest God had given me...these children and my career - teaching. Who am I to decide that the field God has entrusted to me isn't good enough? Or that it is somehow unfair. God pretty much knows what He's doing! I started praying, Lord give me eyes to see them as you do....and peace followed. Real peace. When I listened to His correction, first through His servants, and then from Him, peace followed. I wonder how many people understand that.
At school, I have students who HATE correction. If I call their name the first response is "I wattin doin nothin!" What they don't seem to understand is that if they would simply obey, peace will follow. I have other students that all it takes is a look and they know to stop what they are doing. Funny thing is, the students who respond quickly to correction also get looks of encouragement from me...a wink and a nod, a smile that says well done. These are given because the child first learned to obey.
I once told a student that his mom and I were a brick wall, but we weren't there to keep him from having fun. We were there for his protection. He could keep running into the wall, but the wall wasn't going anywhere. It was built by love.
I have a saying that hangs in my classroom and follows me pretty much every where I go. "No one can go back and change the beginning, but anyone can begin today and create a brand new ending." In other words, it's not too late to turn the car around. I'm sure I'll have many more opportunities to experience God's loving correction in my life....I hope you will too. For with that correction, comes peace.