My Pennsylvania passion is growing.

I’ve been here for a week with family I don’t get to see enough of. I’ve helped with the kids, climbed on combines, taught young boys how to swing like Tarzan on willow branches, and have heard my share of potty jokes.

I’ve loved every minute of it.

The four grandsons are as different as they can be. The baby is only eight weeks old, so his little personality is still percolating. The other three run the gamut from tender to tough to thoughtful–the three-year-old being the tough guy. You can’t make life so hard that he’ll complain. “I’m tough, Nana.”

Until he’s not.

This little guy has enough personality for two people, with some left over. He’s funny and fun to be with. He came up to me, threw his arms around my legs, and said, “You’re the best, Nana.”

No prompting was needed. He frequently tells his parents and his brothers that they’re the best–and he means it. He is delighted with his family and lives his love for life out loud.

When he’s tired, somebody new shows up. Defiant, ornery, and ready to pick a fight, the sweetness turns a bit sour. The smiles and hugs turn to a punch in the back to a brother or a resounding “NO” to a parental request.

But I know the sweet side of him; it’s hard to stay angry with this little man when he becomes disobedient and disruptive. I know the grins and embraces will return. I’m glad I’m just his Nana; disciplining this child is hard. It’s too easy to overlook the mean and patiently wait for the sweet to return.

It isn’t an excuse, however, to let him get away with whatever he chooses. His winning ways will only get him so far; he will learn to be responsible for his behavior. Consequences are real and too often painful.

I’m just like this child. As a people-person with a penchant for making everyone I meet my friend, I hate the thought of rejection, conflict, and negative consequences. I can be engaging, friendly, and kind.

I’m also the mean Dayle who judges and is critical of others. That’s not the person others trust or would choose to spend time with.

I am both people.

We all are.

At times I need to be shown what I’m doing wrong.

It’s easy to do the right thing when life is going our way.

Life doesn’t work like that.

But God does.

God is our heavenly Father for all those who choose Him. He loves us enough to help us see when we’re wrong; He disciplines those He loves.

“For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is ALWAYS good for us, so that we might share in His holiness.” Hebrews 12:10

My sweet little guy loves to love others, but there are times when he needs to be shown that his actions are unacceptable. Letting a beloved child act any way they want doesn’t allow them to grow to be kind and responsible,

Getting away with behavior that hurts others or myself doesn’t help me grow either.

I’ll take the tender care of Jesus any day.

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