Why I Never Said, “This hurts me more than it hurts you!” to my Kids

hurts me more than it hurts you

I only remember one time when my mother said to me, prior to a spanking, “This hurts me more than it hurts you.”

Even though there were tears in her eyes, it made me angry.  I just didn’t get it that day.

I understand that the emotional pain a parent experiences when a child disobeys is greater than what any child can feel in a physical punishment. I’ve felt that as a parent myself. Yet a child cannot equate physical pain with emotional pain, especially at the time of a spanking, so why try to explain something to him that we know he can’t grasp?

I don’t remember how old I was, but I can take you to the place in the bathroom where my mother said those words to me, and I vowed then that I would never, ever say those words to my kids. (There were a lot of other things I vowed never to do to my kids that I certainly reneged on, but this was not one of them!)

hurts me more than it hurts you

As a child, I did not understand how she could experience physical pain from administering the punishment. That’s what I remember. Therefore, I felt betrayed and belittled. I know this was not my mother’s intent!  I know she wanted me to understand that disciplining a child was not a fun thing for her to do, and that it wasn’t easy. I knew that she wasn’t flying off the handle, and her discipline was not in anger or revenge. She honestly wanted me to learn and understand that what I had done was wrong, and there were consequences.

There were tears in Mama’s eyes that day, and I felt more guilt from her tears than from the actual spanking. I knew my wrongdoing brought pain enough to bring tears and she was frustrated. Yet I couldn’t connect her emotional pain to my physical pain. Of course, I understand that completely now. I understand why she said that to me, because it really was true for her. At my age, I just couldn’t get it .

What made more of an impression on me was the tears in my mother’s eyes. It’s the only time I remember her crying when she administered a discipline. She didn’t need to tell me; she simply showed me. That’s the part that connected with me. She experienced deep sorrow and, I am sure, she wondered how she was going to accomplish raising us.

No matter how we choose to discipline our children when they are wrong, we need to be able to help them connect the dots. If it doesn’t make sense, they won’t learn and understand what they’ve done is wrong from the experience of discipline or punishment. It might make sense to us, but that doesn’t help them learn if they don’t get it. Oh sure, they might know never to try that again because it’s not worth the consequence, but they need to be able to connect the dots between actions and consequences.

Parenting can be tough. Figuring out the moods and minds of our children can be hard. Finding what works for each individual child takes some sleuthing. Sometimes what works for one child doesn’t work for another.

When we make mistakes or could do things better, we learn. God forgives.  Our children forgive.

The best part is that He gives us wisdom if we but ask. Sometimes we can receive wisdom from other parents or from older folks who’ve been that path years before.  There are books we can read; there are parenting groups we can join.  Most important of all, we should seek help and wisdom from God. If we truly ask for wisdom and if we truly listen, He will give us ideas and help us understand our children.

He will give us the best words to say and the best actions to take if we are willing to ask and then are willing to  listen.

Let’s not be afraid to ask!

hurts me more than it hurts you


[On spanking a child: remember that a genuine spanking is not child abuse, nor is it something that is done in anger or to vent frustration; it is part of teaching and training a child. Scripture talks about what happens when a parent spares the rod of discipline.  As a foster parent, there are many times I’ve wished I could apply some wisdom to the seat of someone’s understanding because the behavior could have been squelched in shorter order than it took to mete out consequences for weeks at a time. At the same time, there are plenty of ideas out there for discipline if you are opposed to biblical spanking. You can read some of our ideas in the post No More Spankings? 3 Alternatives here.]


Cream Cheese Fruit Snack with Graham Crackers

cream cheese fruit snackCream cheese fruit snack. It’s a cracker. It’s a cheese. It’s a fruit. It’s a snack!

When I’ve got some leftover pie filling or a few extra graham crackers, this snack is my go-to, especially when there are kiddos in the house.  It’s so simple and easy.

You let the kids choose their favorite fruit flavor, and you’re set. Fresh fruit works well, too.

You only need three things:

  1. graham crackers
  2. cream cheese
  3. fruit – either fresh fruit or fruit pie filling

Have cream cheese at room temperature so it is easy to spread on the graham crackers.  Spread it as thick or as thin as you like. Top with fruit topping.

cream cheese fruit snack

I’ve used canned blueberry and cherry pie filling. I’ve also used fresh, sliced peaches and freshly-picked blackberries. Like I said, you pick whatever toppings you want for this cream cheese fruit snack.


cream cheese fruit snackThis snack is a mini-version of Cream Cheese Fruit Delight, and it’s a lot easier to do (not to mention it has less calories!).  It’s a cool, refreshing snack that takes only a minute to assemble.

When I make the Fruit Delight, I usually have two choices of pie filling, so there’s always some left over. This is how I “use up” the rest of the pie filling.

On the crackers, I gladly admit that I only use one brand: Honey Maid. I grew up on these because in my childhood we didn’t have “generic” brands available. It’s the only kind I use, and was one of our prenuptial agreements. Dave has willingly always bought the Honey Maid brand even when it costs him more. My point? Don’t skimp on the crackers because your taste buds will be able to tell.

For a larger crowd, you can spread the cream cheese on the crackers and then allow each person to add his own topping. Use different size sections of crackers to make it adult or child friendly.


cream cheese fruit snack


Things About Life From a Blackberry Patch


Every summer, the blackberry bushes in our pasture produce gallons of blackberries. Seriously. We’re talking 40 gallons when we’ve kept track.

There are some things about picking blackberries that are a lot like our journey in life.

Here are a few brambles for the road:




The small berries are usually sweeter, even though it takes more of them to fill a bucket.

While you may be tempted to bypass the smaller berries, it makes sense to pick every single berry that’s ripe because small berries help fill a bucket, too.

Being prepared is important. Clothes that cover limbs, and bug spray make a difference in the patch.



This critter was busy in the bushes, too.


When you take the time to pay attention, you’ll see things you did’t know were there.

The ebb and flow of life continues every day, no matter what’s happening in my life. It’s another assurance about “seedtime and harvest.” 



blackberry patch  (And, in the middle of a blackberry bush, there’s a nest with newly-hatched babies.)                                                                    







There will be thorns. (Berries that grow on thornless bushes are not as sweet.) I’m not saying the thorns make the berries sweet, but the sacrifice of getting scratched and pricked is worth it for the end result.

You have to dig deep and be willing to get hurt to get in there and pull out those berries hiding down in the bushes.

The end result is worth the trial. Whether you’re making blackberry jam, blackberry cobbler or blackberry pie, the sweat and thorns will be forgotten when you enjoy the fruit of your labor.





The Part I Played in the Thailand Cave Rescue

cave rescueThe cave rescue in Thailand this past week did things to me.

It’s been thirty-five years since I’ve been inside a cave. It’s called spelunking. ‘Not one of my favorite things to do, but something I’m happy to claim on my bucket list of things I have accomplished.

I remember the darkness and the quietness. The time we turned off all our lights and held our breath. No sound whatsoever. It’s not for the faint of heart or the claustrophobic.

We walked through water and dusty parts of caves. We saw bats hanging in the tops of the caves. Sometimes we crawled; sometimes we had to lie flat on our stomachs and inch our way forward like a caterpillar. Sometimes we came out dry, and sometimes we came out with mud and water caked to our clothing and in our shoes.

I went spelunking so I could learn to be a “guide” for a school group that was scheduled to go later. The cave we visited was well-mapped and well-known by our guide.

cave rescue

Spelunking is one of those things that I can’t let myself think about while I’m doing it. I can’t let my mind go where I am, especially when I’m inching along, afraid to lift my head for fear of getting knocked out cold by the stone above me. I can’t allow myself to think about how far into the cave I am or how far under the ground I am. If I let myself think about it, I panic. So I don’t let myself go there.

With all the rest of the world, I watched, listened, and followed the progress of the twelve boys and their coach trapped in the cave in Thailand. Because of my limited experience in spelunking, I had a pigeon-hole idea of what it was like inside that cave. I could not, however, fathom being in total darkness and feeling so hungry. I can’t get close to feeling the worry of the families of those in the cave.

There was one thing I could do, however. I could pray. Thousands of miles away from where the drama was taking place, I could pray.

cave rescue

For families with children, this was a teaching opportunity. When we pray for those we don’t know, we are teaching compassion and care for others. When we can’t be in the middle of the fight or involved in the action, we can teach our children to pray. No matter one’s title or position, you can always pray. Even when we don’t know the outcome, it’s a wonderful opportunity to teach our children about faith and trust – and prayer. It’s an opportunity to help our children understand the importance of praying for others whom we have never met. It’s an opportunity  to help our children watch as God moves and orchestrates, even if things don’t turn out the way we think they should.

Hourly updates, tweets, and interviews could be followed all day long,  another reminder to pray. Some information given was inaccurate. People weighed in on what was “fair” and why this happened. It didn’t matter at that point. All the boys needed from God’s people were their prayers.  As the scenario unfolded, there was a lot of drama.

And grief. Former Petty Officer 1st Class Saman Gunan died during an underwater swim in the cave. He had delivered oxygen tanks to the cave, then lost his life coming out because he didn’t have enough oxygen in his own tank. While the rest of the world rejoices at the “victory” of bringing all twelve boys and their coach out safely, there is a family who is grieving. For them, I pray.

When we don’t know the outcome, we still pray. Three days of rescues and everyone else is safe. What seemed impossible became possible through strategy, hard work, caution, perseverance, cooperation, and careful planning.

When it seems there is so little that we can do, we often forget the most important thing. We can pray. When we feel helpless, we can pray.

Prayer moves mountains and cancels storms. Prayer calms fear and gives wings to faith. Prayer changes people.  Prayer changes  circumstances.  Prayer changes me.

Posted on the Thai Navy Facebook page are the words,  “We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what.”

It was a science and it was a miracle!

Nearly 8750 miles from where I live, what I did made a difference. I’m sure it’s the same for you.

We prayed.

Now is the time to praise! It’s also the time to keep praying, because these boys have suffered from dehydration and hunger; they have the potential to develop other health issues as well.

And now? Now we should still pray.

Pinterest Cave Rescue