We have been recently dealing with a very smart boy who – when not having enough work or challenging tasks – finds himself bored and in need of stimulation. Unfortunately, he replaces this need of stimulation and good behavior with finding ways to make the classroom children laugh at him and give him attention at all the wrong times. So, this ends up resulting in him getting in trouble at school and at home. So, Tim and I have been doing a lot of scripture reading, praying and talking with Pete. The boys and I pray every morning on the way to school. I ask them to pray for specific things – not just ‘help me be good’, but maybe ‘help me to remember that I need to behave so that I reflect my parents and my God well’. We also have many’a talks about the fruits of the Spirit and how we can put them into practice, each day. It’s amazing what a 3 and 6 year old can pray for at such a young age!
Now, we’ve expressed to Pete that being silly is NOT a bad thing. Being sociable and loving to entertain his friends doesn’t make him a bad kid. But, there are times when that is allowed or appropriate and there are times when it is completely not appropriate or called for. So, needless to say, we’re still sifting through the difference in those times.
On Monday, after loosing his television privileges for the week and having to deal with other various ‘punishments’, I told him that we need to make a conscious decision to ‘be good’. Like, when we put on our clothes – we know that our pants leg doesn’t go on our arms and our sleeves don’t go on our feet. We KNOW how to put on our clothes, so every morning we remember how and we choose to do it. I told Peter that I want him to CHOOSE to ‘put on clothes of good behavior’. We made up a whole wardrobe of goodness (like shoes of good manners, socks of patience . . etc.) He seemed to take to that illustration well, and was super good for the rest of the week at school (and home!). We were super proud of him!
Most times, when we have these kinds of talks, we’re in the car . . . which means: Mr James is present, alert and listening – since he knows he’s not allowed to add his own ‘bossy’ advice to our conversations (and believe me, he would love nothing more than to add his two cents), but we know it’s also good for him to hear what we talk about. So, it’s a win-win situation!
So, on Tuesday, after picking James up from preschool, I asked him (like I do every Tuesday and Thursday) if he was a good boy. He shouted “YES! I put on my good clothes of good behavior”. I smiled and said, “Good job, James!” He, then, added “But there was a boy in my class who put on bad clothes of bad behavior today”. I reminded James that I’m not so concerned with the other children in his classroom and that I’m more interested in how HE acted. He said, “I know. But HE was using the fruits of the BAD SPIRIT”. What a hoot!