While Tyson fished, Jackson gave 5 year old Mariah a roller coaster ride in the baby stroller up and down a hilly sidewalk. Mariah was really too big for the stroller. With her arms and legs dangling out the sides, she squealed with excitement all the way down the hill- she loved it! The ride was complete with Jackson speaking in his robotic voice, "Please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times."
Jackson did this for her about 20 times, and then all of a sudden I heard Mariah screaming, "I'm done! Stop! Stop! Stop!" Jackson planned on stopping at the bottom of the hill, but Mariah wanted out in that instant.
I immediately scolded Mariah for screaming the way she did. She did apologize to both me and Jackson for her behavior, but I had been working with her for a few days about her screaming habits. We were about to go swim in the lake, and I told her she would need to sit out of the water for 30 minutes while everyone else swam. Mariah drooped her head in complete sadness; she had been waiting all day to swim, but I knew she needed a tough consequence to instill the lesson well.
After a few minutes, Jackson approached me privately and asked if he could sit out for the 30 minutes instead of Mariah.
Surprised at his request, I said, "Jackson, why would you do that?"
He responded, "...because I want her to have fun. I don't want her to be sad."
I quickly said, "-but Jackson- then YOU won't have fun, and you didn't do anything wrong."
I could see that Jackson really wanted to serve his sister in this way, but I also needed Mariah to learn her lesson.
I decided to have them both sit out for 15 minutes- that shortened Mariah's term and still gave Jackson an opportunity to serve his little sister the way he felt compelled to do. Mariah wrapped her arms around her big brother and thanked him for his sacrifice.
While the other children splashed in the water, I saw something beautiful take place between the two waiting children.
With her kind, loving, older brother by her side, Mariah's pain was lifted and smiles crossed her face. By his sacrifice, Jackson had lightened her burden.
There are consequences to our actions. Sometimes those consequences take us down very difficult paths that hurt and bring sadness.
WE ALL have a PERFECT older brother who is our Savior Jesus Christ. When we repent and are humble enough to accept our Savior's loving partnership, HE forgives us, comes to our side to comfort us, and lightens our burdens.