Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mommy time-out

I have long been a proponent of Mommy Time-out as a means of discipline.  You know, the kind of discipline where you put yourself in time-out before speaking to a child or addressing a situation. I go to my safe place (ie. the bathroom), shut the door, and calm down. Then I'm ready to return.

Or I used to think that's how it works. Recently, a friend of mine shared some of her experiences with Mommy Time-out. They were very similar to mine but only to the point of leaving the room before talking with a child or children. After finding her safe place, she spends time in prayer, asking God to show her how to proceed, and not leaving the room until He has spoken.

Boy did I feel stupid! Of course! Mommy Time-out is indeed for space and time to calm down, but it is also a magnificent opportunity to gain wisdom from the One who knows my child, and me, best. Just as I know my child can't change any behaviors on his or her own strength, neither can I.

And it didn't take long for an opportunity to present itself. To protect the innocent and the guilty, let's just call them Party A and Party B.

I returned home from taxi service to find a very frustrated Child-in-Charge. Apparently Party A and Party B had been arguing over a pencil and an eraser. Yes, you read that correctly, a pencil and an eraser. Each one claimed ownership. Party A claimed it was his. His proof was that it had been found near his school books and that it had a crack he knew he had put in it. Party B claimed it was hers and that it just happened to be found near his school books. She claimed that the crack could have come from anyone or anywhere.

I tried Solomon's approach, suggesting that we just break the two items in half and distribute them evenly but that wasn't going to fly.After a short conversation, it was clear that the pencil belonged to Party A and that Party B just didn't want to concede.  I dismissed Party A at this point because we were at an impasse. I believed that the issues of control and refusal to give in when she was clearly in the wrong still needed to be dealt with.

I asked to excuse myself for a moment. Needing to make a quick taxi trip, I told her that I would be back to talk.

I spent that car ride in prayer. On the way back, I felt like I was supposed to stop at CVS and buy her a pack of pencils and a new eraser. It didn't make any sense. Even more, I was supposed to take a Sharpie and write, "You are loved," on each of the items.

I did all of that. She looked at me, terribly confused. She knew she was in the wrong yet she was so far in she couldn't get herself out. She expected to be put in her place. Instead, she received a gift, free and unexpected. That's grace.

And that's how I knew it was a word from the Lord. I wouldn't have thought of that. I wouldn't have carried it out on my own strength. But I did and two of us learned a lesson in grace.

Try it the next time you need a Mommy Time-out.

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