The time Joshua spent at the elementary school was precious. It was HARD, don't get me wrong...but Joshua was a trailblazer...and a charmer.
There were a few times that he was called to the principal's office. And a few more times that I was called there as well, making the walk of shame from the parking lot into the school! :) Times when discipline was required, as stated in the school's handbook.
Fortunately and by God's plan and provision, we had the best principal. Mr. Wood was a kind man with a HUGE heart for kids. He was married with 3 boys of his own. Joshua loved Mr. Wood, and Mr. Wood loved Joshua.
But there are rules...and Joshua was breaking some of them. And while he knew exactly what he was doing when he did it, he did not quite have the whole consequences thing down. So there were a few times that he had to be paddled at school, and because we signed the form saying we wanted to be contacted FIRST, before any corporal punishment was administered...we had to go to the office at the school. And by "we," I mean ME...because Jim was usually at work.
And it was just so sad. In all of my years in school, I was never called to the principal's office. Not even once. If I had been, I wouldn't be writing this blog post about it now, because I would've died right then and there...right on the spot. But I went to the school to meet up with the principal. He talked to me parent-to-parent...like friends...and he never made Jim and I feel like we weren't doing a good job with Joshua.
We were never in the room when Joshua was paddled, but Mr. Wood would tell us about it later. He told of how he talked to Joshua about his behavior...whatever it was that he'd done wrong...and then explained that he was going to have to get a "lick." (a "lick" is what they called paddling at this school. We're from Arkansas, y'all). Most of the time it was one lick, but sometimes two.
Mr. Wood said that Joshua would just listen to him so carefully...Joshua's brown eyes watching the emotion on his face. Joshua always watches the emotions on faces. Mr. Wood said that he could hardly bring himself to paddle Joshua...sometimes he did, but sometimes they just talked. And sometimes they cried.
Both of them.
Like discipline grieves the heart of a parent...it grieved Mr. Wood's heart as well.
We need more people like Mr. Wood in our schools...in our churches, in our world.
"To discipline a child produces wisdom..." Proverbs 29:15