She's been in time-out about 8 times today (6 of them before 10:00 am). Each one was different; sometimes she was sullen and offended, sometimes hurt and weepy, and sometimes she was downright ticked off. But one thing was the same every time.
When I crouched down to retrieve her from the corner, she threw her arms around my neck, wrapped her legs around my waist, laid her little blonde head on my shoulder and hugged me. It mattered not that her rescuer was the same person as her discipliner. She had no resentment, no bitterness, no frustration towards me. She just wanted to be back in right relationship.
I could stand to take a few tips from Madeline about correction.
As in, I tend not to hug people who correct me. As in I tend to avoid them, resent them, and maybe, occasionally, catalog all their faults in my head (sometimes there are cuss words here).
What? You mean I don't have it all together?
Strange that I feel "undone" so often, and am still surprised when other people recognize it too. Correction is uncomfortable at best. It pricks at pride, insecurity, fear. It reminds us that, no, we are not perfect. People notice. And they care...enough to say something.
"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid." [Proverbs 12:1]
Correction regarding correction. Great.
It is difficult to remember that correction is good, but it is! It's so good. And I don't mean good like, "it's awful but possibly helpful so I'll endure it." Not, "Okay, fine, I get it. THANKS."
I mean it's precious. And we should welcome it for all the beautiful things it can do in our lives. Correction can leave us with so much more than just a bruised ego.
A timely word can correct a bad attitude, a bad habit, and can save us from the repercussions of both. Correction can save us from a bad relationship; it cautions us. It can protect us from acting in anger, if we let it. A word of correction allows us to pause just long enough. To respond instead of just react. Correction saves us from having to learn the hard way.
Correction humbles us. It creates a sensitivity in us to other people. It makes us teachable, softer, more gracious, and certainly wiser.
A word of correction can sharpen us. It can make us more efficient, more useful, more effective. Correction tempers our own thoughts and opinions; it helps us to see the whole picture. Lest, in our fervor, we run too far with an idea without considering it's logical extremes, or who it affects, or what other ways there may be to look at things.
Correction takes us down a peg, opens us up, and builds us up - all of which we need. All the time.
Parenting Madeline is a daily, tangible reminder of how desperately we all need correction. I use correction to teach Madeline manners, hospitality, proper English, kindness, good habits, good hygiene. I correct her, instruct her, and redirect her all day long - to teach her how to be a successful, independent adult.
And God uses correction to teach me manners, hospitality, kindness, good habits. He teaches me humility and grace and patience. He teaches me compassion and self-discipline. Just think what our lives would look like if we allowed God to form all of those things in us - to build them into our days, into our character.
I want all those things. And the Bible doesn't mince words; he who hates correction is stupid.
So I'm taking advice from my two-year-old now. I'm going to give correction a little more love. (Not making any promises about hugs, though.)