Discipline and Self-Discipline March 31, 2010
Discipline: When someone has to tell me to do the right thing.
Self-Discipline: When I do the right thing without being told.
My son AT is a senior brown belt in TaeKwonDo, the quote above is TaeKwonDo’s daily practice.
Last week, with my brother-in-law visiting us from China, and sister-in-law and her husband visiting us from Canada, I’ve told my two kids to put on their best behavior, it’s time to put practice in reality.
Monday (3/22/2010) went by quietly, everyone was happy.
Tuesday when I picked up my son AT from school extended care, I noticed his face saddened.
Me: “What’s up, son? How is your day?”
AT with his head down: “Not good.”
Me: “What happened? You got write-in from teacher?”
AT: “Yeah…But Mom it’s not my fault…”
Of course, it’s not his fault, it’s someone else’s fault…But he always got write-in…You got the picture.
According to the agreement we had before, AT will voluntarily spank himself once got home.
We came home quickly. Full house, Dad and sissy already home, along with the relatives. Without hesitation, AT started his self-discipline: standing against a corner of room, spank his right butt ten times, then left butt ten times…
His uncles and aunt watched surprisingly, even after knowing the reasoning behind the scene, they still turned to me: “Not sure what grandparents will think if they saw this? They must feel the pain. ”
I suddenly realized that the relatives might not be on my side. “Then don’t tell them.” Though I felt the pain the most, as mom.
AT promised to behave at school, so he could play games at home.
Wednesday after dinner, AT came to me with both his hands hiding behind his back.
AT: “Mom, when did I start wear glasses?”
Me: “When you were in 1st grade. ” I just noticed he didn’t wear his glasses.
AT: “So how long did I wear them?”
Me: “Well, you’re a 2nd grader now, a little over one year. Why?”
AT: “Guess what? It’s time to change glasses.” AT put his both hands in front of my face, with his broker glasses.
Me: “What? You broke your glasses? Only wear a year? How?”
AT: “ It fell and broke. I wear more than a year already.”
Me: “But it’s carpet in the house, besides sissy wears glasses more than 2 years…”
Oh well, AT didn’t feel guilty, no self-discipline at all.
After I translated everything in Chinese to the relatives, they smiled: “He is smart to set up the conversation like that. He is only 7 years old. What do you expect?”
Maybe they were right. I asked myself: What do I expect from a 7-year-old boy?
Thursday afternoon, when I rushed to school extended care to pick him up around 6pm, amazingly he was sitting on a chair, reading. Not as usual, running around with sweat and dirt. Teacher told me he got several new books today and kept reading for quite a while.
Me: “Where did he get these new books?”
Teacher: “He told me he bought them from school book fair.”
Me with my eyes wide open: “Where did he get the money?”
Now Teacher with her eyes wide open: “You didn’t give him money?”
Me: “No, I didn’t.”
Teacher:” Uh-oh, you better ask him.”
I called AT over, the conversation started from school, continued on the road to home:
Me: “Are these new books yours?”
AT: “Yes. I bought them.”
Me: “Where did you get the money?”
AT: “From my piggy bank at home.”
Me: “How much did you take out?”
Me raised my volume: “A Hundred dollar!!! Did you tell Daddy?”
Me: “Did you get any change back?”
Me: “How much?”
AT shrugged his shoulder: “I don’t know, it’s in my backpack.”
I was very upset.
Me: “How could you take a hundred dollar without telling Mommy or Daddy?”
AT: “Because it’s MY money, you gave to me.”
Me: “True, it IS your money, but you need to tell us before you use it.”
AT: “Why I have to? It’s my money, I do whatever I wanted.”
Me: “What if you lost it?”
AT: “I didn’t lose it.”
Me: “What if you bought bad something?”
AT: “I bought books from school.”
I’m nearly speechless. “Still, you need to tell us. I can’t believe the school didn’t question you anything when they saw you holding a hundred dollar bill…Hmmm”
AT refused to self-discipline, nor discipline. He thought he did nothing wrong.
When we got home, the argument didn’t end. I found some changes in his backpack along with the book order.
The family and relatives soon caught up with what’s going on, the relatives were on AT’s side, stating I as mom, shouldn’t give him the access to the cash at home, even it’s his money. That would prevent the whole thing from the beginning. Their comments made sense to me.
My family was stricter towards AT, knowing he was kind of troublesome boy. It did alert me to pay close attention to him. Who knows what he will do the next?
T.G.I.F. Friday went by quietly, everyone was happy.
Discipline and self-discipline, easy said than done.