No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
I guess I just got bored. When I was growing up in North Florida it was just easy to get bored. It was a different time. There was no internet, no satellite or cable television, and no electronic games. Then, you have to add to that there just weren’t a lot of toys to play with. While Daddy and Mama loaded us up at Christmas, by summer a lot of them had suffered from rough play. So, you had to get a little creative! And that’s when I got into trouble.
One of my favorite things was to make rubber band guns. It was really quite easy. They were building houses across the street from where we lived (slowly our place in the country was becoming suburban). Like at any construction site there were lots of wedge shaped sticks sticking out of the ground. I later learned they were surveyor sticks. Oops. Anyway, they had lots and I needed one, every once in a while, so I would, uh, borrow one…or two. Well, Mama took the local newspaper so we got a paper every day and it came wrapped with a rubber band. You simply collect a few rubber bands (they were discarded in the yard), drive a nail in your stick and tada…you had a rubber band gun. See…creative.
Well, that was bound to get old, so I came up with another idea. In North Florida, the soil (at least where we lived) was very sandy. I discovered that if you take a water hose and start forcing it against the sandy soil it will act like a drill. As the water forced the sand away, the hose would slowly sink into the sand. Well, it was fun. Before I knew it, the hose was a foot in the ground, then it was two, and then it was three and it was just about then I wondered how I would get it out. So, I gave it a tug. It didn’t budge. I gave it a pull—nope, it didn’t give an inch. I was in trouble.
What happened next is lost to time and history, but one of two things happened. Number one. I left the hose stuck in the ground. Daddy came home and wanted to water his rose bushes. He found the hose stuck in the ground, asked me and I told the truth, and I was sent to the bamboo bushes to get my own instrument of correction. Think a thin bamboo switch. It was effective…every time. Number two. I realized that the hose was stuck in the ground and I realized that Daddy would be coming home soon, and he would water his rose bushes. So, I went in the house and got a knife and cut off the hose. The end result was the same. He asked, I told, bamboo switch. By the way…another sign that times have changed. I looked up switch and was told it turned electricity off and on and was an electronic game that kids play. Mine was neither.
You know, I really didn’t intend to mess up the construction site across from my house and I really didn’t mean to get my Daddy’s hose stuck in the sand. The truth was I was just naive. But there is another truth. My being naive didn’t change the fact that I shouldn’t have done what I did and in the case of my Daddy’s hose—it didn’t change the consequences. You might be asking, “Did your Daddy really give you a “switching?” And the answer is yes. You might ask, “Do you think you deserved the “switching?” The answer is yes. Finally, you might ask, “Did you learn anything from the “switching?” And the answer is yes.
You see, I never, ever again, turned on the water and let the water hose get stuck in the ground. I don’t believe I was ever even tempted to let the water hose get stuck in the ground. You see, the “switching” was not an act of anger or meanness, it was an act of love. Daddy was teaching me about right and wrong and I am grateful for that. Daddy had several ways to discipline and they were generally fair and not too harsh. And I believe they worked because I’ve never been arrested or spent a night in jail—yet. I wrote recently about being a compliant person…and I am, but part of that might be because my Daddy (and Mama) cared enough to help me learn.
I never really bought into the thought that the “switching” hurt my Daddy more than me because I know it hurt pretty bad. But I do know he didn’t enjoy it. My Heavenly Father doesn’t enjoy it either and He loves me even more than my earthly Daddy. God’s Book, the Bible, says that no discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Well, that is the truth. But is also says that later on it yields a kind of fruit—the kind that teaches us right from wrong. And that is profitable.
So, the lessons for today? Don’t pull up surveyor sticks and don’t stick your Daddy’s hose in the dirt and above all…remember that your Father up in heaven loves you. In fact, He loves you enough to allow hard things in your life to help you learn right from wrong…to make better decisions with fewer consequences and regrets. And don’t worry…He is loving and patient. He never over reacts but rather responds in just the right way. And as always, He’s got even this.