“To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.”
Proverbs 12:1 (NLT)
Are you tempted by sweets? I have to admit I love a good chocolate chip cookie, or a peanut butter cookie, or a Girl Scout Thin Mint, or…. well, you get the picture. Sweets are tempting for me, and this seems to run in my family.
When my daughter Caroline was a toddler, one of her favorite treats was Nutter Butters, those awesome peanut shaped, peanut butter filled cookies. One day, I left a package of them on the kitchen counter and Caroline spied them. While she could see them, in all her toddler height she couldn’t reach them. So, she would stand in front of that counter, point persistently and say, “Cookie, Cookie, Cookie?” My reply was an equally persistent, “No. No cookies right now.” We are both stubborn, so after this went on for a while, finally, to make a statement to end this question-and-answer battle, or maybe I was just hoping for the out of sight, out of mind idea to work, I took the Nutter Butter package off the counter and put it on the top shelf of the pantry.
I went to another room to take care of something, and the next thing I hear is Caroline crying out loudly from the kitchen. I rushed back to find her hanging from the top shelf of the pantry. She had scaled those wire rack shelves and was holding on to the top shelf with one hand and the cookie package with the other. Because she wouldn’t let go of the cookies, she couldn’t climb down. I ran over to get her and placed her safely back on the floor.
This story reminds me of how we often don’t heed the instruction we are given, whether it comes from another person like our parents or our spouse, or from the Lord. Rules and counsel are in place to keep us safe, and when we run ahead in our own “wisdom” especially because of selfish desires, we find ourselves in trouble, just like Caroline did on the pantry shelf. The trouble we bring upon ourselves often results in correction. When we decide to heed instruction and correction and realize that it is for our best interests, we can grow and learn. Otherwise, as Proverbs 12:1 states, we are not very smart and will most likely find ourselves in the same trouble again and, at the very least, at odds with the person who tried to correct us.
Proverbs 1:8-9 explains the beauty of instruction and teaching from our parents:
“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.”
We should view instruction and teaching, even in the form of correction, as a crown for our heads similar to the wreath of victory worn by Olympians and as a beautiful necklace that adorns us with the beauty of godliness.
And, if you’re wondering did Caroline finally get to have that cookie after trying out her ninja climbing skills? Well, my answer to her was, “No, not right now. ” After more tears and a final acceptance of the fact that she would not get a cookie, Caroline was content with other things until she got to have her cookie…. after dinner that day!