I've decided that discipline is hard. But I'm supposing that is not news to the other parents out there. Or those who aren't parents at all. For Mark and I, our goal with discipline is to shape Allison's character, not control her behavior. And for a little girl who is not quite two and not exactly the most verbal we definitely have our challenges! For now we hope and pray that what we are trying to teach her starts to make sense and finds roots in her sweet little heart.
And then every so often we are surprised by this little girl. A few weeks ago, at her gymnastics class we caught a glimpse of character which no discipline could possibly have instilled in her. Most weeks the kids get some time to play with balls. There are many, many balls to play with but only two purple ones. There is one little girl who loves the purple balls and gets very upset if she doesn't have one. On this particular day Allison was across the room with a purple ball. At the other side was the purple-ball-obsessed little girl without a purple ball and another girl who had the other purple ball with no intention of giving it up. Allison heard the ruckus, understood it and walked over to the very upset purple-ball-obsessed little girl. Allison offered it to the very upset little girl, talking her own little Alli-girl gibberish (I'm assuming she was telling the other little girl it was okay and she could have the purple ball). Eventually the little girl got the purple ball from Allison and calmed down to play.
I was simply amazed at her behavior, I had not prompted it at all. She responded on her own initiative in a very kind manner to someone she saw that was hurting. When she was born we chose to spell her name with two 'L's specifically because the meaning we found for 'Allison' was 'kindhearted.' It has been our prayer that Allison would use her life to display God's kindness to the world. I was so blessed to see how God is already answering our prayers in her life....prompting her to share a purple ball with a hurting friend. I look forward to seeing how God continues to shape and use her. And I'm thankful that her character is definitely not dependent upon my meager attempts at discipline!
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