A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a girl at the orphanage center named Lulu. (see post Thoughts on Orphans) Recently God has changed my heart towards her. Instead of seeing her as the antithesis at the center, I see her as the person who needs the most love. Instead of waiting for her to need attention and seek it in negative ways, we try to lavish on her positive attention.
One of the main ways to give her attention is to dance with her. She loves to dance, and she loves to dance with a partner. Lucky for her, I also love to dance and sing, so I’m more than happy to accompany her. Most of the time, we dance in the room that has all the toddler like kids, (who are actually 4 or 5 years old) sitting in red, car-seat like chairs propped against the wall. We dance back and forth in front of them. I usually sing one of the two or three songs I know in Chinese, and then I revert to “I could have danced all night” and Fiddler on the Roof’s “Sunrise, Sunset.”
Lulu still lashes out, and I’m personally still a bit scared of her when she does especially after my friend showed me the purple bite mark that Lu lu left on her. But, it also seems like Lulu is able to respond to discipline. My friend will stand with her against the wall in a kind of “time-out.” This is the only discipline though that Lu Lu seems to get though since the Chinese carers have said that Lulu is beyond control and if she wants something they simply have to give it to her or she will lose her temper and start beating up the other kids.
In their eyes, there is no point to discipline her as it only sets her off and makes their job of caring for her more difficult. But in a way, the failure to discipline Lulu is also a visible mark of the failure to love her. I heard a message by Matt Chandler who had this to say about discipline: “Discipline does not ensure love, but love necessarily produces discipline.” And his words are consistent with what the writer of Hebrews tell us about discipline: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11). The lack of discipline in this child, in these childrens' lives, is creating a dark and difficult road for their future. Oh that I would have the courage to love to the extent of disciplining in the face of rage and sharp teeth.