The need for discipline is universal. Children at about the age of two begin to challenge their parents as they learn the word “No!” and begin to act as if they don’t have to do what Mommy and Daddy say. This is the early form of rebellion. This is the age when the discipline must begin in earnest. Children begin to look for the boundaries. The literal endpoints of what is permissible. It is WITHIN these boundaries that they feel safe. They are upset by the spanking but in love, we explain at an opportune time why we do it. We do it because love creates boundaries. Love sometimes says no.
So much recent controversy over spanking [corporal discipline] so that the experts are telling us that we must find a different way to discipline. The Bible says that we shouldn’t withhold correction from children in fear that we will damage them [if you strike and punish him with the [reedlike] rod, he will not die. You will [however] save his soul from sheol (soul is the mind, will and emotions saved from sheol, the place of torment). Your discipline MUST be provided in love. I have seen parents in rage, or frustration strike and/or spank their children. The effectiveness of the discipline is compromised then also. For when children see you acting out of pure emotion, rashly, without restraint, then they will behave in the same manner. Your discipline must match your love in intentionality, and intensity.
You are indeed their role model. If you think you are fooling them, you are fooling yourself. They are watching you and they understand intent and trickery. They will match the integrity they see in you. If you expect them to humbly admit their mistakes, do you admit yours?
We all need to avoid becoming the proud and haughty person who is such a know-it-all that she cannot be told anything. The person who will not listen to counsel. And before you say, “Not my child. . . “, yes your child, is capable and acts out and if you didn’t discipline her or discourage her little spoiled tactics, your child will disgrace you – at school, or worse in the criminal justice system. So many young people taking their cues from ignorant older people, disparagingly upset at the smallest inconvenience or slight. Quick to anger, slow to listen, ready for a violent opportunity.
As a father I have seen a certain sneakiness in my kids. I know that I can be sneaky. I know my own rebelliousness and have seen it manifest in my children. These are the best places I can provide discipline to help my child through battles and barriers that I have already faced.
Amazon.com lists almost 56,000 books on parenting and many experts have been consulted and endorsed to contribute ideas about child-rearing some of whom while being academically strong, may have had limited personal experience actually raising children. There are several others who provide background credentials indicating their expertise is in psychology, child development, medicine, even financial planning.
Yet God, the inventor of the family, the inventor of the parent and the child is seemingly rarely consulted in the practice of child rearing. Yes, there are nods to Solomon’s proverbs, but as seen in many other places, the Bible tends to be regarded as a leopard pelt: inspired in places, just not overall. I have discussed the difficulty with literal interpretation of the Bible here (see The Word and Reality Exposed). I am astounded by Christians who want to believe the parts of the Bible that they like and disregard the parts they don’t like.
The foremost idea that Jesus himself provided was that we are to love God with all of our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves. If we love our neighbors as we love ourselves, how much more should we love our children? The first requirement of parenting is to love
your children. Sadly, in 2014, in America and across the world this is not always the case.
Loving your children explicitly means that you regard their welfare as more important than how they regard you. Children will quickly learn to adjust their behavior to appease the parent that caters to them and/or allows them to do what they want. The writer of Proverbs has a specific statement for parents: Discipline your children. That is train them specifically in how to regard these teachings, wisdom, knowledge. He goes on to say that if you don’t discipline them, you don’t love them. Proverbs 13:24b [NLT]
We will share more of this soon . . .
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Phat on Fruit is an expression I interpret as feeding richly on the infallible Word of God known as the Holy Bible. (See Isaiah 55:2) Feeding is a metaphor for not only reading it but internalizing and meditating on His word which is alive and able to transform us into disciples, warriors and rulers of the Kingdom to come.