Sunday, May 5, 2013

When Faced with Correction

My oldest two children are just 18 months apart in age (I know, I know, please don't judge me). I can remember looking down at Nate (the younger one) when he was just weeks old and being AMAZED at how different he and Isabella were.  

I have an older brother myself, and really we aren't that similar.  We absolutely love each other and have a fair amount of things in common but we are really very different.  So I'm not sure why it amazed me so much that my own children would be so different, but for some reason this floored me!  And the fact that they were so different from the get go, even though they had the same DNA, even though I did nothing different during the respective pregnancies, even though they had relatively similar deliveries, they had distinct personalities from that very first night!  This amazed me!

Ironically, all three of my children, look amazing similar.  You can definitely tell they are all from the same family, their looks, their mannerisms, the words they say are all very similar.  But that is where the similarities end.  In many ways they are very, very different from each other.  

One of the big differences between them is the way they handle correction or discipline.  Isabella, generally speaking let's it roll of her shoulders.  She takes what you have to say, without any comments or emotional response.  Sometimes she will listen to what you have to say and make a change and sometime she won't, but this is all determined internally.  She has very little outward reaction to correction or discipline.  

Nate on the other hand is highly defensive.  Rarely does he agree that the correction or discipline is even needed.  IF it is needed, it is generally someone else who needs it.  There are few things that are actually Nate's fault.  His actions can always be explained and justified.  This makes taking correction very difficult for him.

JT handles it a third way.  To him correction or discipline is devastating.  It is emotionally gut wrenching for someone to tell him that he has done something wrong.  Not because it isn't his fault but because he desperately wants to do things right.  To tell him he has done something wrong will lead him to tears every time, even when he isn't in "trouble".  

Recognizing this in my children has led me to look at my own self.  How do I handle correction either from my spouse, friends or even from my God?  Am I receptive to it or do I internalize it, deny the need for it or break down when faced with it?

Honestly?  A little of all three.  There are times I just listen but don't really care, it may or may not make a difference in what I actually do.  Other times I am highly defensive, I feel justified in my actions and feel it was clearly someone else's fault.  Other times it is devastating.  To learn I did something wrong, hurt someone or messed up when I was trying to do the right thing, is very difficult for me to hear.  Unfortunately it happens more often than I would like, since I still struggle with controlling my tongue.  

The problem is that we do need to be corrected.  We are imperfect people who make mistakes, we mess up and we need correction and sometimes even discipline.  The question is, how will you take it?  Will you accept the correction?  Learn from it?  Even thank the person for taking the time to invest in you?  Or will you choose instead to be hurt, deny the need for it and ignore it?