"Inquiring minds want to know," my father-in-law queried this morning, as he pulled his tractor alongside my garden shed. "What did my little granddaughter do, that was naughty enough to be 'grounded' for 3 days?"
I related the story from the previous Sunday when my precious Jessi had, for the second time, blatantly disobeyed an important directive from her mother. "Do it again," I warned, "and you'll spend an evening alone in your room!" Susan and I were shocked at her reply: "Why not make it two?" "You got it," I said. Then my precocious 7 year-old taunted, "Wanna go for three?" "DONE," I shouted. "How 'bout FOUR?" At that, she finally backed down, and began to whimper.
Jessica's "sentence" ended last evening, and tonight after school she'll run and laugh again with her friends. But what could have prompted such uncharacteristic insubordination? It finally came to me last night, as I watched a smarmy cartoon character act out the same scenario with a hapless parent on one of Jessica's favorite TV channels.
I was reminded that my children--your children--are, essentially, blank pages on which we write with indelible ink. I used to call Jessi's now 19-year old brother Alex "the tape recorder." Indeed, every sly comment...every disrespectful look...every damaging word was stored on his "cassette," and the "tabs" were punched out, creating a permanent recording that he seemed eager to "play back" at the most inopportune times. Generally, it was at the very moment a person I had once insulted (behind their back) walked into the room!
I am so very careful now to control my tongue in my daughter's presence. But even more so, I purpose to remind Jessica, whenever possible, that she is smart, beautiful, and talented. That she can do anything she sets her mind to...that I love her more than life itself...and that Jesus loves her even more. With those words--and His Word--written permanently across her heart, there truly is nothing that can stand in her way.