Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crime and Punishment

Yesterday I heard the familiar sound of water hitting my sliding glass door and walked over to discover water pouring off the roof of the house and shooting over the fence.  My boys, despite distinctly being told not to, were playing with the hose once again.

I suppose I could unhook the hose and store it in the garage, but I've chosen to leave it where I need it because I keep hoping my kids will have the sense to listen to me when I tell them not to play with it.

They don't. 

The message still hasn't set in despite multiple time-outs and revoked privileges.

So, yesterday, I tried a new consequence.

They wrote sentences.  Over and over and over again.

"I will not turn on the hose without permission."

(Cruel perhaps, but report cards recently came out and they could both totally use the handwriting practice...)

The boredom of repetition lead to heavy sighing, and whining, and crying.  At one point, one kid blurted out that he was "gonna die!" and the other child wound up in his room to complete his sentences after writing a few things OTHER than the assigned text.

When Nate arrived home from work, the now weary kids were still scrawling away and it became apparent that it was going to take more time to complete the assigned number of sentences than the short time we had left before bed.

Nate had a suggestion.  He knew the punishment had been set and needed to be met, but wondered if he could help bridge the difference by writing some of the sentences himself.  We discussed how it might make a good object lesson and agreed.

Nate got out his own paper and pencil and sat with the kids at the kitchen table writing sentences, trying to explain how, like the Savior, he would pay the price for a mistake he didn't make and help them make up the difference.

Did they truly understand the deep symbolism of the lesson we were trying to teach them?

I don't know; I hope so.

But I moved the hose just in case.


JenniSue said...

I started off reading your post by laughing out loud again at work (they really think I'm crazy here), and then getting all teary eyed at the end. Thanks for sharing your stories!!

Rachelle and sometimes Katelyn said...

You guys are awesome! I am going to have to use that old punishment! I sure miss all of you over there!

Mark 'n Mindee West said...

You guys are great. Always love reading your blog. Still think you should write books, I'd totally read them!!!

Are you coming to Mesquite for Thanksgiving? We aren't going out of town (Mark has school) so the Wursten clan invited us to crash the family party. We are still considering the offer.

Alisha said...

great post.

Raejean said...

When my oldest kiddo was 8 or 9 she got sassy to the babysitter. We were so angry, hubby decided to have her write "I will not talk rudely to Melissa." 500 times. Do you know how many pages that is? Good punishment, just hard to find an appropriate number of sentences!