Today I had to discipline my son.
He has recently started doing two things that are very bad; biting and throwing a fit when he doesn't get his way. I don't think he totally understands that when he bites someone it hurts, but he certainly does understand that he's angry when he throws a fit! Well, today he started to throw a fit when I took something away from him. When I say that he "threw a fit," I mean that he started screaming. So, I flicked his little lips and said, "no fits!" As soon as I did this, he knew that he was in trouble. His big blue eyes filled with tears and he cried as if his heart was breaking. This melted my heart and I hugged him immediately and told him how much I love him.
A little bit later, I was rocking him in the rocking chair before nap time and he bit my arm. When he does this I really think he's being playful and affectionate. It makes me think of Tinkerbell giving Peter a "loving bite" on his chin. However, this affection is somewhat painful because his six (or seven!) little teeth are SHARP! So when he bit me, I flicked his lips again (this "flick" is actually very gentle; it's just enough to let him know that it's not okay) and told him, "no biting!" Again, his big blue eyes filled with tears and he sobbed as if his heart was broken. We were already sitting in the rocking chair, and I could suddenly feel his sadness deep in my bones and it brought tears to my eyes. Of course, I know that it is my privilege and honor to teach my son obedience to God and kindness to others, so it is my duty to discipline him when he is naughty. Still, this is no easy task when I know the discipline will hurt his feelings! I hugged him tightly to me and told him that I love him so much, but that he has to learn not to bite. Soon he calmed down and we snuggled for a while until he fell asleep.
These moments are some that I know I will never forget. How can a mother forget teaching her child what "no" means? How can a mother forget the deep hurt that fills her heart when her child is hurt? I can only imagine that these empathetic feelings will grow stronger and stronger as he gets older.
I can't help but think of my Heavenly Father. If my small son's tears hurt my heart that much, how much more then do my tears hurt Him? I'm sure He loves me far more than I love my son; He sacrificed His son for me, after all! Therefore, He must hurt for me when I hurt. What a thought!