Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Discipline is a routine that comes to feel natural

Before my father died last year, we had one beautiful phone conversation on his birthday. As usual, I was troubled by some dilemma in parenting. He told me not to worry about being firm as long as I followed up any disciplinary action with love. Then he added, "in another way, you can think of discipline as a routine that comes to feel natural." In the year since he died, I've carried that message and contemplated the wisdom it holds. I'm continually amazed at the way it's helped me to live not only more purposefully and effectively, but happier as well. And so, after months of waking our kindergardener up late for school and rushing him out the door at 7:09, I've decided to make a new routine, a new early morning discipline. This morning I fried bacon and made silver dollar pancakes while he showered and dressed. In the quiet sunrise we had time to enjoy our first meal while I sipped coffee and read "Henry and Mudge and the Sneaky Crackers". We both laughed and he got on the bus happy. I've been undisciplined for too long. I want this new happy morning to be the every day routine that feels completely natural.

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