Pay Now or Pay Later?

This morning was an espresso kind of morning… and not just a small espresso but a large espresso. Last night our 7 week old puppy, Annabelle, just couldn’t get comfortable in our bed. She would flop from one area to another panting at first and then switching to sighing. We bought her a crate and watched the DVD’s on how to crate train her. The problem is when we got our Beagle several years ago the way we potty trained him was to keep him on our bed at night where he couldn’t jump off the bed (he was a mini Beagle and when full grown he was a mere 12lbs). Potty training him that way worked wonderfully—and I like to go with familiar and what I know works. But Annabelle would have none of it and decided she doesn’t like sleeping on our bed. Go figure. About midnight I gave up on trying to satisfy her every whim in allowing her to get comfortable. Out of desperation I put her in her crate. Surprisingly, she loved it and I didn’t hear from her again until 6:15 am when it was time for Tim to head to the gym.

Annabelle’s antics reminded me of potty training my girls. Our eldest daughter seemed to be a nightmare to potty train. Looking back it was more like I was the one trained to make sure she went every few hours rather than her being trained to tell me when she needed to go. Once our 2nd daughter came along, I dug my heels in and refused to start the potty training process. I just couldn’t bear to think of being imprisoned by the restrictions that go along with potty training. There’s far too many things to remember—an extra set of clothing—possibly two, locating bathrooms along your route, giving yourself and your child pep talks along the way, just to name a few. The funny thing is our youngest didn’t wait for me to potty train her she decided she wanted to be trained and pretty much did all the work herself. Two kids and two different methods of training. Two dogs and two different modes of training.

The one thing I know that holds true no matter whether you are training children or training a puppy—you either put the time to train now or you put the time in later—and it will take twice as much time and energy later. All training, whether it’s children, puppies, athletic training, or spiritual disciplines, takes energy and effort. We have to make a decision to put the time in now so we won’t have to later. Like the old saying goes, “If you don’t do it right the first time do you have time to go back and do it right the second time?” I know I don’t want to do twice. What about you?