Years ago, Hudson was playing with his Legos in his room, and one by one, his sisters joined in the fun. There was so much joy breaking out in his room that I stopped doing my work to join them. I laid on his bed while they all played together, and it was heaven. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, Hudson began kicking everyone out of his room. I called him up on the bed and asked what was going on. He wasn’t sure but felt overwhelmed that he had had a sudden flip-of-the-switch in his emotions. I asked if he wanted Jesus to shine His flashlight in his heart to show him what was going on, and he did. The tears began to flow, and he said, “I miss my dad.” All of the fun with Legos with not just one but four other girls triggered that he missed his dad. We were able to walk through forgiving his dad for not being there and asked Jesus how He felt about him. The saddest part of the story is that in the past, I would have normally disciplined him for his outburst against his sisters because he WAS rude, mean, and disrespectful! But his outward outburst was NOT the real issue. His heart was hurting. Do we really want to shut down, spank, time out, and discipline our children when they are grieving their dad? Do they need to grow in maturity with how to handle the hurt? YES! That is called growing up. But we are missing the mark when we place obeying perfectly over connecting with their hearts!
I am asked often with this testimony if I went back and disciplined him for being so rude. NO, not at all. His flesh was immature in getting his hurt out, but once the real issue was resolved, there was no need for discipline. AS discipline isn’t punishment (an eye for an eye) but TO GET to the heart, which God so clearly did. I did ask him to go back and apologize to his sisters for being rude, and it was easy for him to do as he KNEW he was wrong and could do it with ease since his heart was fully seen and heard. Then as a family, we talked about what just happened. Everyone was filled with compassion and kindness for him, and connection was deepened. There is a time for discipline, of course, but the goal should always be to get their heart (otherwise, it is nothing more than legalism, which focuses on outward performance).