It was a big moment.
Yesterday, I took my nine-year-old son for his cystic fibrosis checkup at his pulmonologist’s office.
We’ve been making these visits every three months since he was eight months old. But this appointment was different.
For as long as I can remember, every test was often a struggle of epic proportions – from the pulmonary function tests to the sputum culture.
Tear-filled eyes. Tortured pleas.
How do you explain to a sweet, terrified little boy that shoving a six-inch long Q-Tip down his throat is for his own good?
I’ve been tempted more than once to grab him by the hand, make a run for it and take our chances. Let ‘em find some other poor child to harass. I’m taking my boy to Dairy Queen, Doc.
But I knew it wasn’t the right thing.
He needed the tests no matter how difficult and unpleasant the process. No matter how hard he fought, screamed or kicked.
I could not allow the short-term pain and protest to cloud my view of the big picture.
But yesterday, for the first time in nearly nine years, he went through the paces without a whimper. Even when they drew blood. It was as if he finally made the connection – as much as a nine-year-old can -- between the hassles and staying healthy.
He even got a Spongebob gift card for participating in one of the clinic’s CF studies. Spongebob can cover a multitude of sins.
I walked out of the office breathing a prayer and smiling at the thought of how far we’d come.
I’m in a tough season of having to deliver some strong parenting medicine in a variety of ways.
To our children, our choices and boundaries sometimes seem like cruel and unusual punishment. They don’t understand the “treatment.” They fight and protest. They cry and plead.
But we have to stand firm. No ditching and going to Dairy Queen.
One day they may finally make the connection.
The only confirmation that we’ve administered the right medicine may be years away – and never acknowledged by our “patients.”
As any good doctor will tell you, a positive outcome is worth the price.
No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of righteousness for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12:11 (New Living Translation)