Have you ever noticed that well-disciplined children seem happier? Proverbs 29:17 says, “Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.”
“Instruction improves the innate powers of the mind, and good discipline strengthens the heart.” —Latin proverb
“Discipline alone will not produce maturity, but maturity will not occur without discipline.” —Pastor James Lake in a sermon entitled “Stewardship of Discipleship”
“I’m not raising children; I’m raising the grownups they’re going to be.” —Louis C.K., comedian in ‘I’m Not There to Make Them Happy’: Comedian Offers Incredibly Insightful Take on What Kids Really Need from Their Parents
Have you ever seen undisciplined, disrespectful children and their parents. It ain’t pretty, is it?
“Parents who are afraid to put their foot down usually have children who step on their toes.” —Chinese proverb
“Give your children too much freedom and you lose your own.” —Russian proverb
“Overindulgence makes a child mean.” —Spanish proverb
Another thing that can make a child mean, angry or discouraged is treatment that is unjust or too harsh. Although the Bible teaches corporeal punishment, and I believe it is appropriate at times, some have used the proverbs to justify abuse. Abuse is never justified. One such verse is Proverbs 19:18, which in the King James version reads, “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” Although it could be understood to mean parents shouldn’t let a child’s crying keep them from disciplining, some have interpreted it to believe they can keep beating their child despite the crying. Young’s Literal Translation says, “Chastise thy son, for there is hope, And to put him to death lift not up thy soul.” Most other translations are similar and imply either that parents are to discipline their children and not contribute to their ruin or an early death, or to not desire the death of their children but to have hope that they can be disciplined.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. —Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. —Colossians 3:21
“No man commands ably unless he has himself obeyed discipline.” —Latin proverb
Discipline is not punishment, although it may include it. Think about how you discipline yourself. Discipline is more about discipling, teaching and training. Sometimes we adults want to be mentors or disciple someone, but we forget or don’t even consider that our children are disciples and we are their teachers. Discipleship is more than going through a curriculum or teaching rules, regulations and religion. It is living and walking together through life.
“You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. —Deuteronomy 6:7
God doesn’t just teach you things for your benefit. He wants you to pass on what you’ve learned to the next generation. —Revive Our Hearts e-devotional
I once read a book… I think it was Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp… in which the author revealed that during a power struggle over a toy, both the child who tries to take the toy and the one who refuses to share have a heart issue, so the toy is taken from both as part of a lesson and training regarding selfishness. Oftentimes, parents focus on the behavior of the child who tries to take the toy and then proceeds to teach him or her it is mean without also dealing with the selfishness of the other child who doesn’t want to share. There’s a balance, of course, but I thought it was insightful.
“For those of you who are trying to correct your children, if you’re focusing on the behavior instead of the attitude, that’s why you’re not getting anywhere. You change the attitude, and the behavior will take care of itself.” —Steve Cobb in his sermon “Beyond the Shadow to Reality” (March 2011)
“Childish people are ego-centric; often they don’t even realize that they approach everything and everyone as somehow being about themselves. Much of their displeasure or discontent results from the fact that others see life differently. Childlike people wonder about things, are alert, have questions, are ready to learn; they also know how to jump up and down with glee, and really enjoy things.” —Moishe Rosen, Jews for Jesus founder
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