Recently my 9-year-old grandson came to my house for the weekend with a cloud hanging over his head. His mother had received an email from his teacher stating he had misbehaved in class and had repeated episodes of incomplete homework. Since, my husband and I would care for him for the weekend, we were responsible for deciding on how to proceed with his punishment. We decided that our grandson would spend the weekend “making up his homework.” His punishment for his bad classroom behavior would be “no t.v., no phone games, and no outside play”.
As the weekend went on we noticed our young grandson taking responsibility for his actions and working hard to make-up his homework. So we took the opportunity to teach our growing young man about 2 important attributes about God–grace and mercy. I explained that grace is where we get something that we don’t deserve. For example, we dispensed grace and let him watch a movie with the family Saturday evening since he had a good attitude towards his punishment and had made up his homework.
We laughed with him as he tried to figure out if he wanted grace or mercy, for at times he wasn’t sure. He just wanted to watch t.v. or play a game on his phone. So we would remind him: grace is getting something you don’t deserve; whereas mercy is not getting something you do deserve. For example, he probably deserved stiffer consequence for his bad behavior, like a weekend filled with chores, a week without “electronics” or some other stiffer penalty.
On Sunday evening, when we passed our grand-parenting responsibilities back to his mother, he proudly told his mother about his new word “Grandma and papa gave me grace which means I watched a movie; or maybe mercy. I am not sure which one it is. But my sister got to pick out the movie, which was okay.” We weren’t sure whether his future would be filled with grace or mercy, for Mom had yet to dole out her consequences.