Shaped by your Brother’s Discipline

Shaped by your Brother’s Discipline

Our youngest son, Mitchell, spent a week with his oldest brother in Los Angeles recently.  I think they had a great time.  But then the important day arrived.  Mitchell’s flight to China was scheduled to leave at 1:00 in the morning.  He will spend a year there teaching young children English. Mitchell let me know early that day that Randall would be taking him to LAX to see him off. My first thought was one of appreciation. I was grateful that Randall didn’t just put his brother in an Uber and send him on his way alone.  I made a mental note to call him and thank him.  But then it hit me… My mind flashed back to 2001…

Randall was 12 years old and Mitchell was 5.  I entrusted Mitchell’s care to Randall while I took their mother out to eat.  9-year-old Daniel was of course there too.  When we returned, Mitchell informed me that Randall had spanked him.  I immediately asked him what he did.  And, I received the standard answer.  “I didn’t do anything!”  And I said: “Mitchell, you have never been in that position in your 5 years on this earth.”

 Meanwhile, the other boys are standing there with angelic looks on their faces.  (My suspicion is that Daniel planted the seed in Randall’s mind that baby brother was in need some brotherly discipline.)  Finally, I asked Randall: “Did you spank Mitchell?”  He looked at me very calmly and simply said: “Yes.” When I asked him what Mitchell did, I received another one-word answer: “Nothing.”  When I asked why he spanked him, the truth final surfaced. Randall said: “I have had more spankings in a day then that kid has had in his entire life.  He just had one coming.”  What could I say? 

When our boys were growing up, there were threats of bodily harm direct toward each other. There were inappropriate comments made about each other. They pushed each other’s buttons.  They pushed each other period!  The older boys even locked Mitchell in the closet on one occasion.  The list could go on…

But, as adults, they are close to each other.  Mitchell spent time with Daniel and  his wife, Jessica,  before his departure as well. The boys play fantasy sports together, they text each other, and there are phone calls exchanged too. I am so thankful they are close.  It appears that no one is left out.  I have drilled in them the importance of being inclusive! 

My mind quickly traveled back to the present.  I feel certain that Randall did not feel compelled to spank Mitchell in the parking lot at LAX.  If you have children who seem to argue incessantly, don’t despair.  Keep teaching them the importance of mutual respect and inclusiveness.  I am sure Mitchell has grown up to be a responsible adult largely because of his brother’s commitment to making sure he did not miss out on any discipline!  

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