Last night, I had a dream. It was not nearly as profound as MLK's dream, but still, there it was. A dream.
Don't you love it when people blog about their oh-so-interesting dreams? Yawn. But regardless of how boring dream-posts are, it is my blog and here you are, reading it. Completely at my mercy. (Muah ha ha)
So the dream. I was at Awana, which was, for some reason, out on a country road. Because that's a normal place to hold Awana.
Anyway, I had two kids who just would not listen to me. One of them was Ashlyn, my little neighbor (who, ironically, in real life, has never disobeyed an adult, like, ever), and another was a girl I made up in my head, I guess. Every couple of minutes, they would run out into the road, after I specifically tell them not to. I would freak out on them and yell and tell them not to do it, and then 30 seconds later, I would see them running right back out into the road.
Seriously, how do parents not have more heart attacks!?
Eventually, I put both of the kids in the back of the SUV (you know, the random one that was sitting out there by the Awana country road) and told them that I would not be giving them their Awana bucks tonight because of their behavior.
Dun dun duuuuuunnnnn.
Ashlyn hung her head and looked all forlorn, apologized for her behavior, and ceased all the running into the road business. But the other one? The made-up kid? Looked me square in the eyes, and said:
"That's fine. I can just steal them later when you're not around."
My jaw dropped at her bold, uninhibited defiance. And that's when I woke up.
I can just steal them later when you're not around?
The confidence. It was haunting.
The sad thing about this dream is that I know exactly where it came from. Ever since I started Awana again last year, I have been shocked over and over at just exactly how defiant kids can be. Not all the kids, mind you, but a much larger percentage than I would have expected.
When I was their age (Bah! Where's my shawl? My cane? My bran?), I remember the sheer terror and mortification I felt whenever I got called out by an adult, especially one other than my parents. You can bet your osteoporosis medication that I sure as heck didn't do the thing I got in trouble for again. EVER.
And I can't help but wonder... Is this a generational thing, or was I just an exceptional child?
Maybe a little of each.
Ha. Ha ha ha. Anyway.
My point is: what is wrong with children these days? Over and over, I tell kids to do specific things, or not do specific things, and they look me in the eye and do the opposite. WHAT IS THAT?
(I'm afraid I already know the answer to this.)
I had a girl* last night in Awana who insisted on sitting on the stairs to the side of the game circle instead of standing on the line. I even gave her the option to sit on the line. And yet, every time I turned around, there she was, sitting on the stairs. When I confronted her about it, I got a blank stare and a "whaaaaaaa?"
I know you are smarter than you're letting on, kid.
Also. ALSO. The same girl had candy in her bag, and at the beginning of game time I saw her getting it out, and told her that we couldn't have candy in game time. I thought it a reasonable request, since, you know, she could DIE.
Toward the end of game time, I looked over and saw, shocker, the girl had a lollipop in her mouth. Just like that. I went to her and asked her why she opened her candy. She gave me a blank look.
"Uhh. I don't know." she said. "I wanted it."
"Do you remember when I told you that you were not allowed to get your candy out during game time?" I asked, outwardly calm.
"Uhhh," she paused, and repeated her same tried-and-true response. "I don't know."
Yes you do! You looked me in the eye and said "awwwww, man!" when I told you "no" the first time! GARRR!!!
"J, I did. I did tell you you weren't allowed to have candy during game time, and you went and you got it anyway. So because you disobeyed, now you have to throw the sucker away."
She looked at me like I had just kicked her puppy.
"But whhhhyyyyyy?" she protested.
Um, for all the reasons I just said.
I realize this is what kids do. They have tiny little sinful minds of their own and they disobey. And I know that I only have to deal with that for two hours a week and most of you who read this blog deal with it 24/7.
But at the same time, I am frustrated by the fact that I have no power to change these kids' behavior. They come to me having already learned what discipline looks like, and I hate to say it, but not many of them are influenced by the discipline they receive. Or rather, they are very influenced by the lack of discipline they receive.
And do you know what tiny little selfish devil-children turn into? Big ugly selfish adults, that's what.
And I know, I'm going to get "you're not a parent! you don't know what it's like!" comments, but whatever. Kids whose parents don't discipline them turn into bad kids.
So next time you want to just let your kid's behavior go, just that once, because you've had it up to here, think about the D-bag at the coffee shop who cuts in line while talking loudly on his cell phone. That's who your kid's going to turn into.
*This is not a bad kid. She is very nice. But at the same time, she disobeys so openly that it is frightening. And no, she is not the only one. Just an example.