We have several different forms of punishment in our household, and I'm thankful we don't often have to employ them. One of my favorite punishments is the most dreaded one....the "naughty spot." A couple years back, Tony and I tuned in to watch "The Nanny" for the first time and she was explaining to the parents about putting a child in the naughty spot, on the naughty step, etc. We both kind of laughed at it, what kid is actually going to STAY in a naughty spot? Well, we put it to use the next day, and Luke started howling, "I don't WANT to go to the naughty spot!" But....he did....and surprisingly, he stayed.
The naughty spot is used for disobedience, disrespect, when someone takes things away from a sibling, screaming and yelling (especially when Mama has had it "up to here!"), and light to moderate torture of a sibling (blatant teasing, name calling, and sometimes physical bullying...although that's usually when my brother's solution of a "bully spanking" comes in to play...one whack on the tush for each year they are...that, too, is a torture punishment mainly because, I think, of the name of the punishment -- and thankfully, it is very rarely used). The naughty spot is sometimes under a spare table we have downstairs, sometimes next to the kitchen entrance, and sometimes just in the middle of the floor (they know the naughty spot can move, so they know it can apply even if we aren't at home!). While in the naughty spot, they are not allowed to talk to anyone else, play with toys, and if they do talk to either Tony or me, we generally don't even acknowledge them until their time is up. I think that's the most torturous part of the naughty spot!
When someone is sent to the naughty spot, they stay there one minute per year they are (I sometimes wish I could be sent to the naughty spot! and I confess there have been too many times I forgot to release them from the naughty spot after their time was up only to be reminded by Tony or at times a little voice asking "May I come out now?"). Afterwards, they must come and tell Daddy or Mama why they were sent to the naughty spot (it's used often enough where I just have to look at them without asking before they spill the beans on why they were sent to the naughty spot). After confessing to one of us, they must next go to the offended sibling (or sometimes offended parent or cousin) and tell them "I'm sorry I _____ (hit/pushed/took away/etc.) you. Please forgive me. I love you." before hugging them. By this time, both children are usually laughing, and the hug turns into a wrestling match (although sometimes it ends with a follow up kiss, which is so SWEET!).
Yesterday Susanna took a book away from Luke that he was reading. She then refused to even acknowledge me when I told her to give it back. To the naughty spot! "NOOOOOO!!!!!! I don't WANT to!" Of course she doesn't want to go....it seems like Mama is the only one who WANTS to go to the naughty spot (sit in seclusion for 40 minutes? Nobody talking to me? Oh yeah!), but she had no choice and off she went. After her two minutes were up, I hunkered down next to her, hugged her, and she told me, "I was in the naughty spot because I disobeyed you and didn't listen. Oh yeah, and I took away a book from Luke." I then asked the question I've started recently asking: Do you think that made Jesus sad? Then the eye-opening clincher. "But Mama, Jesus died on the cross. For me! And He loves me. And He cried on the cross for me, too." Oh, my heart melted. She is processing the simplified talks we've had about sin and how we need God to forgive us and how Jesus died on the cross so our sins would be forgiven.
Thanks, God, for giving me that reassurance that my kids are listening and learning and holding on to You in their hearts. Thanks, too, for the reminder of the wonderful work Your Son did on the cross for me, too. Help me to grasp your simple truths as easily as Susanna does. And I pray that these two little blessings to me will always love You!