Message from our Chaplain

Today’s thought is not because I have been successful, rather I’m writing this because of the many failures I had. The first time our daughter had a public meltdown (I think) was when she saw a Barbie Doll at Toys”R”Us in South Africa for the first time. She wanted the doll, and she let us know. Actually, she let everyone know. As her tantrum grew more intense, it was hard to determine which was more piercing—her screams or the disapproving looks of parents nearby. Before long, it was clear that we were the only people who felt justified in telling our cute little daughter “no.” However . . . with each passing moment, we felt the pressure to give in to make her stop crying.


Like many other situations in parenting, this scenario requires a plan. You need to know in advance how you are going to respond when the pressure is on. What are the battles that must be won, and which can tolerate a strategic withdrawal? No parent wants to deprive their kids of good things, yet good parents often do. They consider the long-term impact that their decisions will have. In this situation, giving in to our daughter might have brought us some peace in the moment, but it also could have taught her that if she gets mad enough, she will get her way. While that belief might not be hard to handle in a two-year-old, what might it look like when she becomes a teenager, a businesswoman, a wife, a mother? Parents must be careful to teach the right lessons early. Rage should never be rewarded. Discuss with your spouse which character traits you want to develop in your child. Perhaps you value honesty, integrity, contentment, patience, thoughtfulness, or some other virtue. Pick a few that are most important to you and then talk through different potential scenarios. Come up with a plan in advance for how to respond in order to develop the trait that you value. When you have thought through the long-term implications of your decisions, it will be easier to stand firm when the pressure is on. Pray that God gives you a long-term view of discipline and that you will have the strength to carry it out when the time comes. – Blessings, Rev Willie