Empty Carts Or Empty Promises?


Maao So I go into a large, well-known store and was passing through the children’s department on my way through when I heard a small child screaming to her mother and throwing one HUGE tantrum. I walked right by them and the mother said, “You are not getting this if you are going to act this way,” to which the toddler screamed, “Yes I am!!”

http://thewoodlandretreat.com/the-tender-heart-trailer/67d7a7d9-8cc2-44b8-ae13-68610f07ee98/ I passed by them and continued to get the item I needed, turned around and headed back, following them to the checkout where, in fact, the little girl had the item.

Another example: A family member had her daughter in the shopping cart seat. She decided to stand up and do a little tap dance. She fell out of the cart, sustaining a concussion.

We are out in town, maybe the grocery store. A child talks back, throws a fit, wanders away, won’t listen and/or just makes a big scene. What is a mama to do?

When my children were small and in the major training stage, I would VERY CALMLY tell them to stop whatever they were doing. If they continued as I shopped, I peacefully and calmly took the children home…leaving my cart behind and dealt with them as needed.

We don’t want the child to consider that their actions are okay when we are not at home.

When my first 3 were small, it seemed like I disciplined all day long. I hated it, especially since my hsuband was on the road a lot. I am so thankful for cell phones! My husband would encourage me to remember the goals we had to raise up a heritage. He’d remind me that we were not, and still are not, doing a “one day at a time” thing, but rather, we do everything with a purpose with clear boundaries, nothing is arbitrary. And that training isn’t only the rod, but it is teaching the children about the Lord Jesus Christ as we rise up and when we sit down… and that we are a reflection of just a little of what He might look like, too! (frontals on your forehead). He reminded me that we were treading into new territory since our parents didn’t follow God’s Word.

Proverbs 13:24
He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.

Do you see it? Diligently… to be up early with earnestness is the literal translation of diligently. Wow! God’s Word encourages us when the times get tough!

What an inspiration to have others in the body of Christ, to go to and encourage you to keep on keep’n on. I know it was a great help to me and many continue to be an encouragement to me.

Now that those particular kiddos are 22, 20, 19, respectively, and we’ve gone on to have many more, the fruit of those long, long days, has shown that it was oh so worth the time, the diligence, the patience, the love, the prayer, the teaching… everything. The younger ones watch the older kids’ example. There is so much peace in our household!

Last story: I was in another major grocery store chain last week. I noted that on several aisles, there were abandoned carts.


12 Responses

  1. Done that before and I know my mom probably did it with me occasionally.
    It really does show the children that you will not tolerate their fits and that it is not right!

    Thank you for your Titus 2 wisdom and for actually caring enough about the younger women to share it!

  2. thanks! I love this! I always desire to hear things like this, b/c the contrary speaks SO loudly. And I have my first, and possibly my only, 3 that are no 3, 5 and 7 – and today my PT asked me (they come with me to all appts) “You must feel like you discipline all day long” and sometimes it is hard..b/c I have so much to get done, that many times if I do stop to discipline, then things are left undone, and in our home, that’s not really ok! So I try to get it done in the midst,…which is still a challenge! Suggestions WELCOMED. 😀

  3. Amen, I learned that lesson after my first, she was/is a brat then, my fault completely…. Thankfully, my others have learned that lesson well.

  4. I liked your take on “one day at a time” – We do have to be so intentional don’t we. I too abandoned trolleys when my kids were little. You let them know you will still be consistent when out and about it their behavour starts to line up with your expectations. Great post.

  5. JennInSeattle

    I wish I was better at this. Today Elizabeth (3) pushed Joshua (1) because he wanted to get on her ottoman. He fell and his tooth went into his lip (not pretty though thankfully not through). She had to stop watching her Dora episode. But after waiting about 15 minutes I let her watch the rest (she kept insisting she wouldn’t push him again and she was sorry). As soon as I put it on I knew I shouldn’t have. She didn’t push him again but that wasn’t the point. She pushes him often and this might have made a point. I need to abandon the “cart” more often. Thanks Ruth.

  6. My first real and honest “mommy moment” was 8 years ago when I called my husband in tears and said, ‘You know THAT mom in WalMart? Today I was THAT mom…’

    Now I have two little women who know how to behave in the store (or a waiting room, or a library, or church, whathaveyou) but after a bit of a baby break, we have our third munchkin who is about to be (gasp!) two. Ahhh, now is the time for this training and while I can’t lie and say I’m looking forward to it, it’s good to know God and lots of mommies are on my side!

  7. JennInSeattle

    Sadly, Elizabeth pushed Joshua first thing this morning. She recieved “punishment” and lost all of the toys she was so preciously protecting. She will play with none of them today and he will play with them instead. I hope this lesson is over soon for both of us. Thank you again for the reminder, I needed it. Teach (I’ve started, since yesterday, using my brain on this and teaching them to behave the way I think they should, and the Bible talks about, behave instead of trying to find the magic parenting secrets for all scenarious and discipline diligently which means stopping typing or eating or whatever it takes to go handle the situation with whatever it calls for). I’m praying the Lord will make this successful, not just today but long term.
    Thank you for saying what I needed to hear… again.

  8. I’m having to tighten up on my first boy. It seems like boys are different, but I’m determined that he’ll fall in line with the rest of them.

    Whenever I see mothers faced with those problems, I pray for them. I pray because I don’t know if that mother knows the Lord and the world is so CRAZY now. I wouldn’t want that to be the last day that I saw that Mom or that child. Meaning, Mommy could get that fed up and decide that that day was the day that she or that child will die today. LOL

    I know that’s no joking matter. That’s why I’m often lead to pray for that mother’s patience in dealing with that child instead of turning my nose up.


  9. Wow that is so funny that I stumbled on this post, I just had a verse exam that I took and it was on those verses above. I knew that the Bible called for discipline, but it’s amazing the clarity that it gives! I loved reading your blog!

  10. JennInSeattle

    Hey – just wanted to update that we left two stores a couple of weeks ago. My son was devastated! He’d pulled his sister’s hair repeatedly, pushed over boxes of food on the shelves, yelled at me for not taking him down another toy isle (he just turned 6 not 4) and I’d had it so I left one store and then another even though my grocery cart was 2/3rds full. The manager understood and put away my groceries. My son received a spanking and took a nap. Let’s pray he got that message loud and clear, he cried for a long time over it. Thank you for this reminder, such a simple form of discipline that has been, so often in my life, not used.

  11. *THANK YOU!* for this! Honestly, I am currently in need of it…. (((((HUGS))))) sandi

  12. THANK YOU FOR THIS POST! I have a 3 year old, 1 1/2 year old, and newborn and I can relate to feeling like the whole day is spent disciplining! It is frustrating, exhausting, and defeating at times. It is so difficult to work so hard and feel as if it is getting you nowhere. I keep on keeping on, though because of the advice of more experienced moms like you! My dear friend and mentor (who has 5 grown boys) reminds me that the fruit of my labor may take a long time to see, but when it is here it is sweeter than anything! Thank you for sharing and one of those empty carts was probably mine!

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