Mollie is a smart 8 month old puppy quickly becoming an adult. One of the more frustrating nightmares comes to life when she notices that you value something that is possibly chewable. A new shoe, a croquet ball, and any sporting object that moves (especially basketballs) are favorites. Initially I assumed that the behavior was a game that required my involvement or awareness; it doesn’t. Then I thought that she was a simple dog who quickly forgets; wrong. Now I understand that Mollie is a creature who things with her heart, acts without regard or even apparent knowledge of the consequences, and once focused will patiently wait until the opportune moment comes to behave exactly how she wants to without a reprimanding word.
I am sure that there are people in this world with the expertise to manipulate Mollie’s learning and behavior. However I am not sure Mollie is the only one with a problem. Am I that different when there is something that I want to do or experience? Does logic come into play? Will the consequences deter me for long from taking the steps necessary to achieve the goal? Will oversight and discipline always carry the day?
No, no, and no is the simple answer.
I would love to say that discipline or even a hard response would help. After all “A good thrashing purges evil; punishment goes deep within us.” (Proverbs 20.30) The challenge is that in many ways I find myself walking in Mollie’s paws. Punishment only works if I am I willing to learn. A thrashing can purge evil or cement anger. If the heart is bent on realizing the god within the touch of the God beyond my self is not going to be felt.
There is good news in spite of my, or your, behavior. God knows us better than we know our self. God loves us because we are His kids. These are facts beyond any action we might take. God offers us recreation and a chance at full living; what happens next is up to us.