I’m a father of a three-year-old and the three-year-old does not want to go to school today.

It is the second week of pre-school, but a bout of fever broke the regularity of going to school and now a three-year-old thinks that staying at home is the better deal. The mother tried her best to coax the three-year-old with promises of gifts and reward when he returns, but the three-year-old stood his ground. Threats began to fly but fell on the hard ground like a box of marbles that the three-year-old knocks over as he flings his arms around like a maniac. Something needs to be done, and the father knew what that was.

With a shout like thunder from Mt Sinai, the father issues an ultimatum: Stop this nonsense or suffer the wrath of discipline. The three-year-old chose unwisely. A series of whacking ensues that brought tears and vomit out of the little boy but he remained unrepentant. The three-year-old was more resilient than the father had predicted as he makes a mental note to upgrade his armoury later.

Having no other option, the father decides to try a different approach. He issues a sanction and rips the toy car away from the three-year-old. For the first time, the boy began to panic. Can the father be so cruel?  The toy car is everything to the three-year-old. Safety, best friend and possession all ripped away with that one act of… parenthood. Cracks began to form in his defence and the three-year-old begs for a reprieve. Seizing the advantage, the father negotiated better behaviour and a formal apology which the three-year-old complied willingly and immediately. The sanction was lifted and a little boy went to school today with his toy car and an over-sized school bag.

Later that day, the three-year-old’s teacher complimented him for his good behaviour and gave him some cookies.

 

“He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” – Proverbs 13:24