December 16, 2009

The Rod of Discipline

The rod and reproof give wisdom,
But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.
Proverbs 29:15

Some are not fans of corporeal punishment for the discipline of their children. It can be very unpopular to take your screaming child out of Toys R Us and spank them in the bathroom (or even pull their pants down and do it right in the aisle!). If we have strong-willed and difficult children after a while, we begin to feel like we give more spankings than hugs and kisses - more unapproving, angry frowns than smiles and laughter. Then we begin to ask ourselves if it's really worth it? "I should be enjoying my children and this brief time in their lives. I'm exhausted from all the correction."

Do not hold back discipline from the child,
Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.
Proverbs 23:13

The most difficult thing for me, as a parent is to remain consistent in the discipline of my children. It's easy to come through with any threats of discipline I might give, "If you do that ONE more time . . . " It is hard to repeat twice the command given, "Don't climb onto the bed," or, "Don't throw your toys," and then remain faithful to reprimand every time after that in which she disobeys. I give her two warnings then the third time and afterwards (within the same hour, mostly) I give spankings or time-outs. The time outs seem to be more effective since they are 5 minutes of sitting and being quiet with no stimulation whereas spankings only last a moment.

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
Proverbs 22:15

My friend Jennifer over at A Bug and a Bird has written some words of encouragement about parent/child discipline that she gained from John Piper. In Piper's article, it talks about the eternal significance of remaining faithful to discipline your unregenerate children (whether corporeally or otherwise). By receiving regular, consistent discipline our children learn of the justice of God. They learn that their actions and attitudes have real consequences. If we, as parents, don't remain faithful to discipline them, they will miss out on internalizing this attribute of God in relation to taking responsibility for their own sin, understanding the consequences due it. We hinder the Gospel communicated effectively to our babies when we don't discipline them!
Requiring obedience from children in conformity with God’s will confronts them with the meaning of sin in relation to God, the nature of their own depravity, and their need for inner transformation by the power of grace through the gospel of Christ.
He also includes a great list of things Christian parents should practice:
  • Let there be much spontaneous celebration verbally of every hopeful sign of life and goodness in our children.
  • Let us forgive them often and be longsuffering.
  • Let us serve them and not use them.
  • Let us lavish them with joyful participation in their interests.
  • Let us model for them the joy of knowing and submitting to the Lord Jesus.
  • Let us apologize often when we fall short of our own Father’s requirements.
  • Let us pray for them without ceasing.
  • Let us saturate them with the word of God from the moment they are in the womb (the uterus is not sound proof).
  • Let us involve them in happy ministry experiences and show them it is more blessed to give than to receive.
  • Let them see us sing to the King.
  • Let us teach them relentlessly the meaning of the gospel in the hope that God will open their eyes and make them alive. It happens through the gospel (1 Peter 1:22-25).

Happy Parenting!

No comments: