I am someone who doesn’t enjoy change. On top of that, I’m fairly disciplined about most things in my life. For example, I’m pretty disciplined about my workout routine. While training for three different marathons, I followed an 18-week written schedule, and I documented my progress on a spreadsheet. For the most part, I stayed on track throughout the entire four months of training. On the other hand, I would like to be more consistent in my prayer life. It seems easy to pray at meal times and dinner times; however, I seem to fall short the rest of the day despite the scripture that calls for us to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17).
The topic of discipline is multifaceted. We often talk about living a disciplined life (“When it comes to working out, that guy is sure disciplined”). Last night, Leanne and I had the opportunity to share at a MOPS (Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers) on the topic of discipline. In this session, we will talk about the reasons we discipline our children. As we delved into this subject, there are a few things we kept in mind. First, we discipline our children because we love them (not because we want to be mean). Second, God has placed us in a position of authority to help protect and guide our children while giving them clear and safe boundaries. While we were asked to speak as “experts” on the subject, it’s important to understand that we’re not perfect. Our parents weren’t perfect in the parenting, and I’m sure if you’re reading this that you’re not a perfect parent either. It’s important to understand though that we can make a difference in the lives of our kids if we decide to take this subject seriously. We all have different backgrounds when it comes to the subject of discipline. As couples, it’s important that we get on this same page, so we can be unified in our approach to discipline.
Here are a couple of passages from the Bible to get us thinking about this subject:
And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as children? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his child.”
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate children at all. Moreover, we have all had parents who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! Our parents disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:5-1
My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life, Proverbs 6:20-23
Here are some of the key points from our talk last night:
- We discipline our kids because we love them. “If you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24
- Discipline is NOT meant to harm our children – “Fathers do not exasperate your children.” Discipline is not meant to scar; it’s meant to correct.
- Help them make good choices in the future – shape their hearts (help them understand what they did was wrong). When we discipline our children, it’s important to talk and to pray together.
- When we discipline our children, the punishment should fit the age of the child and the “crime.”
- Sometimes living with the consequences of their actions is the appropriate discipline for an inappropriate action by our children.
- Consistency is critical. We create confusion in boundaries and expectations when we aren’t consistent. Also, we notice that when things aren’t going right in our home, it’s often a sign of inconsistency on our parts.
- Through discipline, we have an opportunity to teach our kids about God’s grace.
Here’s the cool thing. If you feel like you’re not getting it right when it comes to discipline, today is a new day. You can change your family for eternity – starting today – by how you approach discipline.
What did discipline look like in your home when you were growing up? If you’re a parent, what does discipline look like now? In what areas do you need some work?