In fact, I was getting more milk out of the cooler for Emma in-between games one Saturday when the ‘earring calamity’ happened and it happened like this…
Elizabeth, who had just celebrated her 12th birthday two or three weeks prior, was sitting on the ground beside the car waiting for me to finish what I was doing when she exclaimed, “Oh, no! My earring fell out!”
In most cases a missing earring wouldn’t be a big deal, but Elizabeth had just gotten her ears pierced for her birthday, so it was a big deal. She still had a month to go before she was supposed to take them out. After checking to make sure she was right, my first thought was that we’d never find the earring because we didn’t know when or where she’d lost it. But because the back of it was still ‘stuck’ to her ear, she was sure it had just happened. This led to my next thought—that we’d never find the earring in the gravel where she was sitting. Once again I was proven wrong. It took her less than a minute to find it (I still call that a miracle), wipe it off, and begin asking me to “please put it back in”.
I’m gonna be honest and tell you just thinking about it now makes me cringe and gives my tummy a little queasy feeling. And I’m not even squeamish about stuff like that. But because the piercing was so new and Elizabeth’s little ear was still so tender, it took multiple tries to poke, wiggle, and work that earring all the way through and secure it back in place. It hurt. It hurt a lot. But Elizabeth didn’t flinch. She made faces, gritted her teeth, let a few tears fall, and when I wanted to stop a couple of times because I knew I was hurting her, she insisted we keep going until the job was done.
I’ve been proud of Elizabeth for many things in her life, and I’ve got to say that this day is definitely near the top of the list. Why? Because she didn’t let the pain or difficulties involved stand between her and doing what had to be done.
As parents we need to take a lesson from Elizabeth’s determination and strength. We need to look the issues and difficulties of parenting in the eye and keep going until we achieve the desired results. We need to stop being afraid to discipline our children effectively (and fairly) even though it’s not always pleasant or easy to do, because in the end everyone benefits. We need to stop being afraid to teach and require our children to have the strength and character to do the right thing even when doing the right thing hurts.
If Elizabeth and I can do it, so can you!
Happy New Year,
Copyright 2017 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.