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You Are Grounded

Sometimes when the kids get grounded they just have to sit an feel the pain of the punishment and other times they get the opportunity to earn back whatever it is they lost. The other day they were a mess at bed time, jumping on the bed, flickering the lights, spitting at each other… Do I need to go on? They got grounded from video games and friends for 3 days. Yesterday they had to feel the pain of that punishment, but today I gave them the opportunity to work it off. As we walked home from the bus they eagerly inquired about their punishment and learned they would have the ability to work it off, their friends were there.

We arrived home and 10 minutes later I hear a knock on the door, it was their friends. I kindly told them they’d have to wait until the kids were done with their extra chores and was shocked and surprised when they said they had heard and they were there to help. Man parenting is really hard sometimes. Of course I wanted to make my kids scrub the toilets and pull weeds on their own; this is a punishment and they need to feel the discomfort of it… But at the same time what a Godly picture of community and friendship it would be to let their friends come alongside them and shoulder the burden.

Today I let their friends help them because the beauty of such a gesture on their friends part was profound and overwhelming (I mean the boys bathroom that makes me gag, yuck!). Naturally we’ll be talking about all of this with the kids before bed time so they understand the weight of their friends’ offer and we can link it in their minds to biblical principles and because everything is a teaching moment even if school isn’t strictly at home anymore.

It was pretty cute to watch from a distance as they worked together to scrub toilets, wipe counters and cabinets, clean baseboards, and sweep and mop each bathroom together. I was proud of them for doing each bathroom together rather than dividing and conquering (as I probably would have done in their shoes) but where is the community in that? The girls did the same thing while pulling weeds together and cleaning up toys from the lawn.