My wife would kill me if she knew that I was telling you this. (…Please don’t say anything…she doesn’t read this stuff and won’t find out unless you say something…) That’s right, I am going to share with you a story about training and discipline and vomit.
About two weeks ago, my joyful Addy was not feeling well. She had already gotten sick once in the car, had a shower, and spent the evening on the couch. Although we probably surmised that more food might make her sick, she ate dinner nonetheless. Wasn’t that bad … oatmeal. How hard can that ol’ quaker dude be on your stomach anyway?
Fast forward two hours. Cough. Cough. Scream. Cough. Gurgle. Gurgle.
I ran into Addy’s room. She was crying … but not talking. She had her hands cupped around her mouth. I ran to her bed and saw that she was gagging. She did not want to get sick in her bed.
I scooped her up in my arms and cradled her to the bathroom. She could have let go. But she did not. Her small, cupping hands held tight to her mouth. As I sat her down on the ground near the toilet, she aimed …. and released. Good girl.
You may find this disgusting, but I was one proud pop. Did you see that? She held tight until she was in the clear. She did not want to get sick in her bed. She did not want to get sick on her daddy. She waited until she could get sick where sick belonged.
We (… I mean my wife … ) wiped her brow, cleaned her mouth, bathed her, and set her back into bed. Although we had already prayed once, I would later return to Addy’s room for an extra prayer. Can’t have too many, right?
As I walked out into the dark hallway, I looked over my shoulder to the motionless body. That’s what I call disciplined. To us, discipline is everything you put into children that influences how they will fare in the real world. Perhaps out of cleanliness … perhaps out of laziness … perhaps out of leadership … but we have always trained our children (no matter what age) to hold their sickness until they can get to a bathroom. Addy, in her moment of sickness and nausea, could have reacted so many different ways. But she chose to hold on and get sick where sick belonged.
Is that disgusting? Maybe. Are we mean parents? Probably. Is there a lesson in all this talk? Yes. If an evening of child sickness can show me that training really does make a difference, then perhaps you can reach a similar conclusion in your journey. As the often-quoted proverb says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
How are you training your children? What lessons can you share?