A few days ago, Tee and Graham were arguing and generally producing mayhem in the car and had been told to "simmer down" more than one million times. Although I firmly believe in first time obedience, my children are still up in the air on the issue.
Something, unseen by me, escalated the situation and both were told they would receive a consequence when we got home. Translate, S.P.A.N.K.I.N.G.
Enter weeping and gnashing of teeth.
When we got home, Trey took both boys upstairs to give them each four spankings.
He had them explain to him exactly what happened and during the explanation, Tee confessed that it actually wasn't Graham's fault, but his own and Graham really didn't deserve to get a spanking.
Let me pause this story to say that this is a rare, rare occurrence in our home. Our children are of the age and predominate heart condition that there is always someone else to blame. As I reread that, I think it matters less about the age and more about the predominate heart condition because I find myself doing the exact same thing much of the time. Needless to say, pigs flew, Hell froze over, and I ate vanilla ice cream without hot fudge sauce.
Trey was so surprised he almost fell out of his shoes. Tee stuck up for his bro' and threw himself under the bus in the process. As Trey was picking himself up off the floor and excusing Graham from his consequence, Graham asked if, instead, he could take Tee's spankings for him.
"Daddy, can get a spanking instead of Tee?"
Note to self, when I'm cast opposite Brad Pitt in his next blockbuster and I need to cry on command, remember that moment. Check.
Trey was dumbfounded and conflicted for a minute. Tee was obviously as conflicted because he was nodding his head but saying "No way, Graham!" at the same time.
In the wisdom that attracted me to him in the first place, Trey decided to let Graham take half of Tee's punishment for him. He felt that, although it wasn't fair, it was right. He needed to honor his son's prompting to love someone greater than himself, and to be willing to suffer in his place. He needed his other son to see how much he is loved and how, when he defends the cause of the innocent, mercy abounds. It gave us a teachable moment where we could talk more about the perfectly innocent Son who took on not half but all of our consequence so that we could have life with the Father. Each boy received two spankings but loved and respected each other more when they left the room than when they had come in. Through the process of sin and consequence, they saw an aspect of the Father's love in one another they had not seen in the backseat of the car. And we were giving a gift as parents we won't soon forget.
Thank you, Lord, that you were pierced for our transgressions, you were crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought our peace was on you; and by your wounds we are healed.