Unjust Punishment ~ Part One

A Lamplighter Moment from Mark Hamby


Once, an exasperated mom wrote to me about her enraged 13-year old. She shared how his temper is getting worse and worse, and she didn’t know what to do about it. The following is the dialogue that took place between us:

Dear Mark,
Recently my three children were arguing and name-calling while doing their chores, and I decided to punish them for their behavior. I decided they would not be allowed to go to the County Fair with their cousins; an outing they were looking very forward to. When my brother and his family came to pick us up, I was their only passenger. When I returned, my 13-year-old son was livid. He started yelling at me and insisting that the punishment was unjust and that his sisters were at fault. Actually, he was right. But now he was yelling and being disrespectful. I admit that my punishment for him was a little unjust, but now how should I deal with his disrespectful behavior?

Dear Mom:
The fact that your son is yelling and being disrespectful suggests that perhaps there is more to the problem than simply a reaction to an unjust punishment. Is yelling a reaction that has been modeled by mom and dad? Many behavioral problems stem from parents who are not modeling the behavior that they desire in their children. The boundaries we set for ourselves are usually the boundaries our children will adopt for themselves.

The first step is to apologize and admit that you made a mistake in your judgment of the situation. Demonstrate that you will admit making mistakes and will humbly own up to them. Ask for forgiveness. Hopefully he will follow your example. Perhaps at another time, when emotions are not heated, you can share how there will be times in his life when he will be unjustly treated and will need to respond with self-control. I love Hebrews 5:8, which speaks about Jesus: “though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.”

Monday we will share the rest of the story – you won’t want to miss this one!

Mark’s Favorite Books of the Day!

The Lamplighter
An immediate best seller in 1854, and now Lamplighter Publishing’s signature book, The Lamplighter was second in sales only to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Mistreated and abandoned as a child, Gerty’s angry and violent disposition gradually becomes virtuous as she learns the lessons lived by the meek and gentle lamplighter. But there is much more to this story than meets the eye! As the plot thickens you will be tempted to read ahead – but don’t do it! The surprise will be worth the wait.

Hand on the Bridle
The allure of secret sin and the enticement of peer pressure had a strong hold on teens a century ago. Young Gavin knew it was time to venture out beyond his secure environment called home. His longing for independence has become a tainted mixture of stubbornness and pride, but it doesn’t take long for him to realize that following the crowd can be risky business. The change that takes place in Gavin’s life irritates his friends to the extent that, through vicious threats and heckling taunts, they place him in a predicament that could cost him his life!