Punishment Delayed is Worthless
On Friday morning, Lion realized he didn’t remind me about Thursday being punishment day. I told him I’d punish him that night. We went to the casino and got back late. No punishment. I said I would punish him yesterday. We went to Costco and then I waxed him. No punishment. At this point, with tomorrow being another punishment day, (no, Lion, you can’t remind me today) it seems ridiculous to punish him for something that happened days ago.
Punishment days were set up to catch all the infractions that occurred during that time period. Tuesday to Thursday would be dealt with on Thursday. Friday to Monday would be dealt with on Monday. By that logic I really could punish him for something we realized on Friday. However, I’ve been trying to swat him closer to the crime. Friday’s infraction should have been done Friday night.
As each day passes, we get further and further removed from the deed that made those swats necessary. Can I punish him today for something that happened months ago? If I’m in charge, I can. But the point is that in order for the punishment to mean anything substantial, it has to happen very close to the violation.
On the other hand, is it wrong of me to “forgive” something just because we’re too busy for me to punish him? I teased Lion about wanting to go to the casino in an effort to delay punishment. If I thought he was really doing it for that reason, we wouldn’t have gone. He didn’t insist on going to Costco or my waxing him because he knew I’d be too tired and achy to punish him afterward. They were just things that needed to be done. Today, I’m finishing up the waxing, but I’m also doing laundry and whatever else I may have energy for. Life invades. We adjust.
What I will do today, and any other time this becomes an issue, is tell Lion he’s absolved of the punishment from Friday, but also that he needs to be more aware of this rule in the future. It’s not like I’m not disappointed in him for forgetting to remind me. He’s been a bad boy. If he forgets again on Monday, I’ll remind him during those swats that this just can’t happen. If I’ve absolved him, it isn’t right to make the punishment harsher. But he needs to know that I’m paying attention and I won’t stand for his forgetting.