Thursday, August 25, 2011

Elephants and Elders

Today we had my older brother over for his birthday. Its always fun when he's here, since the Elephants are crazy about their uncle. Its also always fun when he turns another year older than me...  :)
I'm proud of the way that my elephants behaved... well, thats only half true. I'm really proud of Pink Elephant. She understood "eat all your vegetables and you will get cake".. and happily complied, with a "please may I have some cake" the minute she had finished the veggies.
Blue Elephant, not so much. After much reminding and prodding and tons of resistance, we finally told him he would not be getting cake. (and yet he did STILL have to finish his veggies).. Blue Elephant was NOT happy about that.
Tough as it was to listen to the whining and the crying and the disappointment of BE not sharing in his uncle's cake, it was the right thing to do. We told him if he didn't eat them, he couldn't have cake. He hemmed and hawwed and made funny faces with beans sticking out of his mouth (which I can NOW laugh about since he is in bed!) but he knew he was disobeying. And he knew the consequence. Yet he persisted. He tested the limits, and questioned our authority over the matter, and we answered him.
It was hard, and I was sad for him with his disappointment. But I have to say, I was rather encouraged when my brother stole a moment to tell us in private that he was proud of us for staying the course and not backing down and giving in.... its always refreshing to have someone see that we are really making an effort to parent with a purpose in mind: turning out decent kids that will grow into decent adults!
Missing cake won't make BE an angel, nor will it teach the "actions have consequences" lesson once and for all. I'm certain we will be repeating THAT like a broken record, right up til the time he leaves for college....
The Elephants do need to know that they should (and will) show respect for their elders, and mind what we say.
Call me a mean mommy for witholding the treat from a disobedient Elephant. After all, it was a special occasion, and he shouldn't have to miss the fun, right?
Its okay if you feel that way, I'm cool with that. No cake for you, either. LOL. J/K.
I'm not looking to be my elephants' best friend. I'm looking for teachable moments each day in their lives that show them the benefits of obedience, and the rewards (eg:cake) that are in store for them through it.
It's a short step from understanding this obedience to our earthly Fathers and applying it to our Heavenly Father. Sure we can choose not to "eat our veggies" when God asks us to obey through the tough parts of life, but in doing so, we miss the "cake" of deeper blessings that He could be giving us through lessons learned and stretched faith.
I for one am very, very fond of cake.
Be it the cake in celebration of my OLD-ER brother (heehee) or the "cake" of blessing from the Lord.
Discipline and "veggies of discomfort" are a part of life, both literally and spiritually. But the rewards of obedience are SO worth it!!! :)
I'm pretty sure the next time the "veggies and cake exchange" comes around for Blue Elephant, he will be cleaning his plate! After all, an Elephant never forgets....

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