oh the sounds of family

it’s now quiet. about 2 minutes ago when i finished tucking in my kids for bed they were all crying. (except for rachel, she was already asleep) the story goes something like this . . .

all three girls took a nap this afternoon so we knew they weren’t going to be ready to sleep at their normal 8.30 pm bedtime. so at 8 o’clock i took anna, julia and rachel to the store for some milk and snacks. meanwhile deb and danielle stayed home to make popcorn balls and cookies (w/walnuts for me).

anyways we got home about 9.45 pm and now it was definitely bedtime. julia went to bed crying because she was just tired and didn’t want to go to bed (normal stuff). danielle was crying because she was in her pajamas already and on the computer when her mom asked her to go to bed. i was putting away groceries. deb was talking to anna (story coming below) and then had to pause again to tell danielle a second time to go to the bathroom and go to bed. after about 3 more of these interchanges i came over to danielle with a ‘spanking spoon’ and gave her little bottom (which was sticking up in the air) a little swat, told her she had gotten a spanking for not obeying her mother, and told her to obey what her mother had told her. so she went crying to the bathroom and then to bed. i went and consoled her (we always comfort our kids after a spanking to let them know that we still love them and to make sure they understand that the spanking was a consequence to an action on their part, and not out of anger on our part). but nonetheless she was still crying and wanted her mom (the one she was disobeying in the first place but not the one who had given her the spanking — on a side note: “that’s one of many reasons why it’s nice to have two parent homes”)

so the reason anna was crying was because i went into her room to debrief (some more) on what happened at the store. well it finally happened. i knew this day would come for one and/or all my kids, and today was anna’s day. i caught anna in the process of stealing a candy, and lying to me about it when i first asked her. (not that every kid steals candy from a store – but every kid comes to a point where they’ve done something major-ly wrong which left unchecked will not only make them a ‘not nice person’ but could land them in jail)

it was from one of those ‘bulk candy’ bins and after confronting her, i also had her apologize to the cashier. as we were leaving the store i also told her she’d have to come home and tell her mother what she had done. — (btw, the danielle and julia have started crying again) — well that process in itself was long and drawn out because she was afraid that her mom would get mad at her. but deborah handled it very well and used it as a time of instruction. so anyways, i was coming into her bedroom to reassure her once more that we loved her and that she understand that it’s not okay to steal things from anyone ever. and just the thought of her feeling like she had lost the approval of her parents was too much for her and was what caused her to cry.

:: to my kids ::
rachel, we love you and we’re loving getting to know more every day this new little person that God has brought into our lives.

julia, we love you and know what’s best for you at this time in your life (a full night’s sleep for your body to grow and be healthy). our desire is that we’re teaching you to trust us.

danielle, we love you and are trying to develop good character within you. as such, being able to be under God given authority (of your parents, in this case) is necessary in order to ever be in a position of authority yourself.

anna, we love you and want you to know there is nothing that you can do that will make you stop being our child. your life will have many more choices of right and wrong, we pray even when we are not around you will choose the right thing.

// today i’m thankful for:
1. my family
2. the ‘envelope system’
3. teachable moments
4. understanding cashiers
5. a wife who loves me!

Join the Conversation


  1. What a great post, Abe! You certainly show compassion with your children (& others). I hope when we have kids that we’re as patient as you appear to be.

    What’s the envelope system?

  2. you guys are wonderful parents. people always think that pastors kids are perfect, but really they face the same obstacles everyone else faces. your love is reassuring to Anna. in life there will be other times where she may not make the wise choice, but to know that you are loved regardless speaks volumes. Also knowing mom and dad will hold you accountable, brings a sense of security – things make sense.

  3. I have to tell you that this post brought back “that day” for me. Jamie was also in kindergarten (I think). We were in Noble’s furniture and Jamie had spotted a container of little paintbrushes on the counter. She kept bugging me to get one and I said “No.”. We (me, Anna, Jamie) all got back in the van and I was driving down the street. I looked over out of the corner of my eye and there was Jamie playing with one of those brushes (that I had not paid for).

    I was appalled and my heart was crushed. I thought “Oh, no, my little girl is a thief. What am I doing wrong, etc., etc.?” I later realized like you that this is somewhat typical behavior for children that small who haven’t really thought everything through. They just see something they want, they know their parents won’t get it, so they do it without realizing the consequences.

    The key to helping them grow up to be good kids is to catch them like we did and talk to them.

    I immediately told Jamie how wrong this was and we turned the van around to go back to the store. Jamie was crying the whole time (because she is so sensitive and tenderhearted, even to this day!).
    She did not want to go back to the owner to give it back and say I’m sorry. She was begging me not to do that. She just wanted me to take it back it, but I told her she had to be the one to do it.

    So, we marched back in (and it was a good lesson for Anna to watch) and she gave the paintbrush back to the man and said “I’m sorry for taking it”.

    The funny part was how funny he looked because he almost didn’t know how to handle it. I’m not sure he was used to people coming back to return a $1.00 something paintbrush that their children had lifted.

    That one day and another one that involved Jamie about 3 years ago have been 2 of my more meaningful parent days. The 2nd one was even more powerful because she was really old enough to understand more and I could relate it to choices later she’ll face as a teenager.

    Sorry to take up so much room on your blog. But I just really felt this and could picture all of this playing out in your home.

    I’ve been really concerned for Elia and hoping she will make it home soon. I’ve had some long delays at airports several times, but nothing like she’s experiencing.

    I called your mom last night to check on her. I’m praying she makes it home to all of you tonight and you still enjoy a week together of fun and love. It will fly by.

    Have a wonderful Christmas with family, Lara’s!!!!

  4. to jen – the envelope system is part of the way we do our budget. for various ‘cash’ categories such as – groceries, household items, eating out, gas, entertainment, clothes, etc. – we put the money we’ve allotted for the month for that category into an envelope with that name on it.

    so we do our budget at the end of each month for the following month. so say we budget $100 for gas for the month, we put $100 in to an envelope marked ‘gas’ and then during the month we only put gas with money from that envelope. so it helps us limit our spending, and also frees us up from having to stress about if something else isn’t going to get paid because we decide to put gas, or eat out, or watch a movie, etc. we simply look inside the envelope, if there’s money, we can do it. if there’s not, then we don’t. obviously stuff changes throughout the month, so deb and i have an ’emergency budget committee meeting’ to adjust the budget.

    but mostly we’ve been doing this for over a year and we can gauge pretty well from what’s going on in the calendar how much we’ll need for each envelope.

    for more information sign up for a http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/home/“ REL=”nofollow”>Financial Peace University class in your area.

    susan – obviously i don’t mind taking up large sections of blog space in the comments (see all my blabbing above) plus it’s free anyways! so write till you’re hearts content, better yet start your own blog.

    anyways your story reminded me that danielle’s “that day” has already occurred. but i guess it wasn’t as vivid because . . .
    1) i didn’t have a blog then to write about it.
    2) it happened while we were on vacation and we didn’t realize she had taken a ‘keychain’ with her name on it until we were gone. (so we weren’t exactly going to turn around and drive another 4 hours to have her give it back)

    we did call the gift store (http://www.tillamookcheese.com/VisitorsCenter/“ REL=”nofollow”>Tillamook | Visitor’s Center) to try to pay for it. they also weren’t sure what to do, and when they finally looked up how much that particular keychain was they said to just forget about it and that they would “write it off”.

    deb, wasn’t going to let danielle get off that easily so she’s keeping the keychain until danielle’s old enough to understand and then she’s going to SELL it to danielle!

    by golly, we’ll make this into a teachable moment even if it is YEARS after the fact!

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