Whose Line is it Anyway?…

A year and a half into having kids, I have a healthy number of post-infraction speeches under my belt. A post-infraction speech is usually used in conjunction with a form of discipline (i.e. sitting in time out) and followed up with the “kiss and make up” speech (kissing is optional).

Step 1: Post-infraction speech – Here’s what you did, and why it’s wrong…

Step 2: Discipline – Here’s the consequence for your action… (severity matching the severity of the infraction)

Step 3: Kiss and make up – What you did was wrong, but it is over, I still love you, and there is no weirdness between us any more…

It’s not an exact science, but it’s what we do.

Sometimes my speeches are as short as, “You should try to hold in your farts because you will never get a boyfriend if that’s all you do.” Sometimes they are long 30-minute multi-point sermons spelling out why we ask them to brush their teeth every night, and it’s not OK to skip.

I usually try to throw a “why” in there, just so they understand that the rules are not arbitrary… The rules have a purpose, and it usually is for their own good – such as, getting a nice boyfriend (of which I approve) one day.

The interesting thing is, in the midst of my post-infraction speech, I have heard God use my own speech to tell me the exact thing I needed to hear. Even though I’m disciplining my child, He tells me “Yeah! I’ve been trying to tell you that exact same thing for weeks now… Why does it seem so clear when you tell your kid, but you can’t see the same thing in your own life?”

Here are a few excerpts that I/God used…


#1. Do you think it’s funny when your sister is in trouble. I’ve watched you several times, and you definitely laugh and act excited when you see her fail. She is your sister. We are a family, and we are a team. We need to build each other up and not delight when we see someone else stumble or mess up…

OK, God. I get it.


#2. When I asked you why you didn’t follow instructions, all you did is tell me you just didn’t want to. Do you think that’s a good enough reason? Do you think my instructions are an option? When I ask you to do something, you need to do it, and you need to do it immediately and with a good attitude.

OK, God. I get it.


#3. You have to eat your green beans before you get a cookie. I know you don’t like to eat your green beans, but there are a lot of people in the world that would be super grateful to have just a little of what you have. Also, green beans are good for you. I want to give you things that will help you – not just the stuff you want.

OK, God. I get it.


#4 You didn’t like your shirt this morning and were mad the rest of the day. Your joy and happiness are your decision. Sometimes bad things happen. We can’t control those things. What we can control is how we react to them.

OK, God. I get it.


#5 It’s OK to be upset and angry at what I asked you to do, but it’s not going to change the fact that you need to do it.

OK, God. I get it.


#6 You can use the sofa and the TV trays for your fort, but you have to be careful. Those are not your things. They are my things. I will let you use them but you need to be good stewards of them, not break them, and share them with your brothers and sisters.

OK, God. I get it.


Before I had kids, a lot of people told me my children would teach me so much. I just didn’t think the instruction would come out of my own mouth.

At the dinnermesa,



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