Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Held Accountable

When we moved into our home, we did a ton of work in the house. I think we did at least some sort of work in every room of the house, with the exception of our bathroom. Some days I’m thankful that we haven’t gotten around to remodeling our bathroom yet.  Last Thursday was one of those days.

We were sitting in our living room when Ella came back from going to the bathroom (she’s pretty sufficient to use the bathroom by herself now – it is wonderful!). When she came into the room, she was hiding her hands behind her back. She came in quietly and went behind the couch, keeping her hands behind her back the entire time. We figured she’d taken something out of the bathroom she wasn’t supposed to bring into the living room, but it was worse than that. When my husband finally got her to open her hands up, her hands revealed that she’d been playing with my fingernail polish in the bathroom.  Somehow she only managed to get a couple drops on her dress and a few spots on her hands. There were, however, several large dark pink spots on the bathroom floor. This is why I’m thankful we haven’t gotten around to fixing up our bathroom yet.

As we went through the process of disciplining her for her actions (this is the second time she’s gotten into my fingernail polish) I was thinking about what someone from the outside might say about the whole situation. Such things like, “Why was the fingernail polish in her reach?” or “Why was she allowed to go to the restroom by herself?” It made me think about how those type of questions put guilt off of Ella. Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I do not advocate sending children into dangerous situations or even trying to “tempt” them. My fingernail polish was not easily accessible by Ella (she really had to try to get it), and she knew that she was not supposed to get into it in the first place. I realize that she is only 2 1/2 but there are definitely things she knows to do or not to do. The fact that she walked into the living room hiding her hands testifies to the fact that she knew she had done something she wasn’t supposed to do.

I think it is important to hold children accountable for the their actions. I don’t enjoy seeing Ella doing things that she shouldn’t do, but I think I would only make the situation worse for her (and us) in the long run if I made excuses for her and did not hold her accountable for what she has done.  I know that I have a great responsibility in showing Ella what is right and what is wrong, and part of that responsibility includes making sure she knows there are consequences for her actions. Ultimately, as she grows up she needs to realize that God will hold her accountable (just like we all need to realize) for the things that she does. Consider 2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” I do not say this meaning that we must work our way into heaven (or earn our way into heaven), but rather that we will be judged by whether or not we are living a faithful life in accordance with God’s Word. I know that one way I can help teach Ella about faithful living is to hold her accountable for the things that she does.