I Am the Dad: How NOT to Teach a Life Lesson to Your Kids

As parents, we have moments when we think we are going to be geniuses and teachers of great life lessons to our kids. This was kind of one of those moments. Well, it was actually me being a softy and calling it “teaching a great life lesson.”

Let me make a couple of disclaimers before you read any further.

1) There is no big point to this blog entry even though the title might lead you to think so.
2) We spank our kids. We have never spanked them much but we have spanked them. That may turn some of you off to this story.

When Emily was younger, she went through a stretch where she lied a lot. She would lie about all kinds of stuff, big and small. Some of the lies were the classic, “If I lie about this I won’t get in trouble for what I have done” lies. There would be other times when we could not figure for the life of us why she would lie.

It became such an issue that we came up with a rule. “If you tell a lie, you always get a spanking”. It was a guarantee. It was pretty much the only thing that we spanked her for and our spankings were not intense.

So, she would lie. We would spank.

When we proved faithful to our promise, she started learning. But, she is not perfect and would still slip into her 4 year old deceitful ways from time to time.

It got to the point with her that if she was caught in a lie, she would start crying before the spanking even happened. This made it tough for me.

Now, it is important to know that I am a softy. I may give off a rough and tough exterior but the truth is that I am a 90lb weakling on the inside when it comes to my kids.

So, a day comes, and Emily tells a lie and she gets caught. You tell a lie. You get a spanking. It is the rule.

It just so happened that I was extra soft that day and really had no desire to give a spanking. But, a rule is a rule. When there is a lie, there is a spanking.

As we walked to her room she immediately began to cry over the spanking that was about to come her way. I started to cave. I couldn’t do it.

I needed an “out”.

ENTER BRILLIANT “TEACHING A GREAT LIFE LESSON” IDEA! I think to myself, “I am a going to teach Emily about the love of God and the sacrifice of Christ.” In the Bible it is the rule, when a sin is committed there must be a payment. And the ultimate payment was God coming in the flesh as Jesus and taking the punishment we deserve on the cross. It was a once and for all payment.

It was and is the ultimate act of love and I was about to give the perfect image of this love to my daughter.

I carefully explained the fall of man and how it separated us from God. I explained the need of a payment to restore our relationship with Him. I told the story of Jesus, and His death on the cross. I explained that He was punished when we should have been.

Then, with great drama, I said, “It is like when you lie. There has to be a spanking. You deserve a spanking and a spanking will be given.”

“Emily. What I am about to do is because I love you. I am going to take the spanking for you”.

Then I reached over and picked a toy frying pan (which I would have NEVER spanked her with) and began to smack myself on the leg as hard as I could. Several times. Over and over.

Just like you are thinking right now, Emily was looking at me like I was CRAZY!

Was she thinking about Jesus? I am pretty sure she wasn’t.

When I was done beating my leg, leaving a big red mark on it, I asked her how that made her feel. She looks at me with a big grin and says, “I’m not getting a spanking?”

She came bouncing out of the room laughing and smiling, “Mommy! I didn’t get a spanking! Daddy spanked himself with my frying pan!”

Shelley, “He did what?”

Emily, “Daddy gave himself a spanking and I didn’t get one!”

Me, “Emily, why did I do that?”

Emily, “I have no idea.”

Lesson – You can’t teach your kid about God’s love by hitting yourself with a frying pan.

I am the dad.


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