So today I want to talk about our Father’s Day. Today is Jace’s second year to celebrate Father’s Day with his son. He’s an absolutely amazing dad, and Cohen adores him. Unfortunately, this is a story about the tough parts of being a dad.
We had a wonderful morning. I cooked some very yummy pancakes. After eating, Jace left early for church to meet with a friend, and Cohen and I finished getting ready. We made it to church EARLY! Cohen was his usual self this morning. He got put in time out once for being ugly to his friend, Lucy (our 7 year old black lab), but other than that he was great.
We got to church, and things were still going great. He went with his teacher without complaining. All went well…Father’s Day looked as though it was going to be a wonderful day.
Then, after church, things started going downhill. When I got Cohen from his class, he immediately began begging for rice and beans. On Sundays, we go out to eat with our LaPlace family. That usually means we end up at the local Mexican restaurant, where Cohen eats lots of rice and beans. When I told Cohen he would have to wait, because I wanted to see where all our friends were going, he lost it. Then when he realized we were not going to the “Rice and Beans Store” he lost it again. Then, he screamed all the way from the church to the restaurant (The restaurant we picked is the one he calls “The Ice Cream Store” because you get ice cream when you finish your meal…he obviously loves this restaurant too).
Now I’m not exactly sure what went down after that, but Jace pulled him aside and explained that he had two choices: he could go home with no lunch, or he could straighten up and eat shrimp and ice cream. Cohen got better, then worse, then better, then really worse. By this time, I had already walked into the restaurant and was helping setup enough tables and chairs to seat our party of 13.
At some point in Jace and Cohen’s conversation, Cohen told his Dad he did not want to eat anything. He was angry and began refusing everything. Jace even tried to explain that if he could straighten up, there was ice cream coming his way. Cohen’s fit continued.
After a few minutes, Jace came to me and said “We need to go home.” We’ve never had to leave a restaurant because of Cohen. He’s usually so good. And today of all days…it’s FATHERS DAY!
I’m certain at this point, everyone in the restaurant is thinking “just give the kid whatever he wants.” But, the principle of the matter is, that if we continue to give in to him and allow him to get his way while he acted this way, we would never have control of him in a restaurant again, and then we would never be able to go out and eat, and our friends would stop inviting us to go with them on Sundays …and well you get the point. It’s a vicious cycle. You let him get away with it once, he’s won, and you’ve taught him nothing.
So Jace decided we should just go home, and put him in bed, with no lunch.
Jace had another good talk with him when we got home and he was sent to bed, with no lunch. After it was all over, I apologized to Jace and told him I was so very sorry that his Father’s Day turned into a Cohen Fit Fest. Jace just looked at me and smiled and said “It’s not Adult Male Friend Day. It’s Father’s Day and I’m doing my job.” And what a great job he’s doing.
We need to remind ourselves that it’s not our job as parents to be our child’s friend. My husband helped me remember this today. It’s not our job to make sure that they are happy all the time. It’s not our job to make sure that they have everything they ever wanted. It’s our job to love them and look out for their best interests, and sometimes by doing that our kids will be unhappy.
We serve a loving God, who wants only the best for us, but in His divine plan, sometimes we end up unhappy. Sometimes we don’t get everything we want. But that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love us. The bible clearly says that God disciplines His children.
Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV)
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.
Hebrews 12:7-11 (NIV)
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Jace and I love Cohen very much, and sometimes there are hard lessons to teach, but I’d rather be the one teaching him those lessons in a loving way. If I don’t teach him how to behave and act respectful, then one day he’s going to learn that hard lesson from a friend, teacher, boss or other authority figure, and they may not be so loving about it.
I’m so grateful to have a husband who loves his child enough to put happiness aside and to teach the hard lessons. I’m also grateful to a Heavenly Father, for giving us discipline when we need it.
For those wondering how the afternoon went…a few hours later, when Cohen got up from his nap, he was in a great mood. We allowed him to pick what he wanted to eat (he choose oatmeal…he took a long nap and I’m guessing he thought it was morning). We had a wonderful afternoon with a well behaved child. I’m certain that we will have issues again in the future with poor behavior choices, but I’m hoping that through our loving discipline, Cohen will grow up to be a productive member of society, and who knows, maybe one day (way in the future) he will become a loving husband and father, much like his own dad.
Happy Father's Day, Jace!