Wisdom Wednesday: Discipline and Raising Grownups

Photo credit:  Real Odyssey via freeimages with text added

Photo credit: Real Odyssey via freeimages with text added

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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About Rene Yoshi

Just a transplanted Okinawan-French Southern girl with a wee bit o' Irish, sharing photography and what I'm learning about spiritual things, including putting off legalism and religious traditions, and embracing God's matchless love, tender mercy, and amazing grace! View all posts by Rene Yoshi

18 responses to “Wisdom Wednesday: Discipline and Raising Grownups

  • Randell Bell

    Discipline tempered with anger ceases to be discipline and becomes punishment without love, temperance and mercy, and punishment without these traits can lead to abuse.

    Discipline tempered with love, temperance, and mercy eventually leads to correction. That does not negate corporal punishment, but it keeps punishment from being abusive.

    Hebrews12: 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 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. (NIV)

    • Rene Yoshi

      You’re comment reminds me of two quotes I have together on my FB About page but forgot to include in my collection of quotes. I’m so glad you reminded me of them!

      “Discipline without love is tyranny…” –Shirley Rice
      “… love without discipline is hypocrisy.” –Tony Heidt

      Thank you, Randell, for your input! 🙂

  • heavenlyraindrops

    Thanks Rene I trained mine up in the way God intended, and am currently awaiting my prodigal’s return to Him. Taking time, but trusting God’s word. I know in my heart that none of those principles you listed were wasted on our part. Blessings.

  • Scott


    I was reading about this very topic yesterday! As I read I thunk, “I bet Rains would like this”. So when I got this week’s WW I knew I was right on. Attached is the article. I am sure you’ll like it.


    • Rene Yoshi

      Scott, umm, there is no article attached. Do you have a link?

      • Scott

        “One of the indications Scripture recognizes a child’s originality is found in the familiar words penned by King Solomon; “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it”. (Proverbs 22:6 NASB).
        Unfortunately this verse is misunderstood and misapplied, by those who are responsible for the training of young people. Many parents and youth leaders think it means, “Have family devotions, make sure kids attend church and youth group and a Christian school, and when they are grown up they will not depart from the faith”.
        The REAL emphasis of this verse, however, centers on the phrase “the way he [or she] should go”. The writer is referring to the child’s way, his or her leaning or bent. The root meanings of these words suggest stimulating a desire for guidance according to each child’s own uniqueness.
        The same Hebrew word that is used in Proverbs 22 is translated “bend’ in two psalms and refers to the bending of an archer’s bow (Psalm 11:2; 64:3). In Biblical days all archers made their own bows and had to know the unique characteristics of that bow if they hoped to hit anything with it.
        The Ryrie Study Bible has a note for Proverbs 22:6 explaining that ‘the way he should go’ really means ‘according to his way; i.e., the child’s habits and interests. Instruction must take into account his individuality and inclinations, his personality, the unique way God created him, and must be in keeping with his physical and mental development.”

        “Beyond Belief to Convictions”. Pp 98-99. Josh McDowell & Bob Hostetler, Tyndale. 2002.

      • Rene Yoshi

        Thank you, Scott, for the excerpt! I had heard it before, but as the article says, that verse has been misunderstood, so I appreciate you posting it. 😀

  • Cassandra

    It’s such a tough job being a parent. I make mistakes but I hope my kids know I try my best. Its hard to be mom and dad and I find giving reasons for why helps even if they don’t agree. Its hard when they have unsaved friends or see others who get whatever they want or can do whatever they want. Always being compared as judged. They feel different than others I guess I do too a bit

    • Rene Yoshi

      It’s especially tough being a single parent, or even a married one with very little help. We all make mistakes. I’m so glad kids are generally resilient and gracious. I found that talking with them and explaining why we do things definitely makes a difference. Communication is key. Even if we don’t agree, if they feel like we’ve heard them and are trying to understand, that helps, too.

      I remember how it felt to be the child of a single mom and wished we had some of the things other people had, but I also understood why we didn’t. And I saw my mom try to provide what she could, even to the point of making sacrifices. Not only that, but God was gracious by blessing us through other people.

      It can also be hard to be a Christian in this region and generation. The Bible says we are peculiar… [chuckle]… so we should feel different. Your children are different, but they are a good kind of different, and I’m sure some people notice. You’re doing a good job! ❤

  • gwennonr

    Dear Rene,

    Your articles are always good, but this was especially excellent. You have shown a lot of wisdom and compassion in preparing it. I wish I could have read it 20 years ago when my husband and I were new parents and could have benefitted from such wisdom. Alas, we were not terribly teachable then, but God has been merciful to both us and to our children.

    One of the things that has helped us just this week in our parenting is the teaching on blessings. I am currently reading a book by Kerry Kirkwood, called “The Power of Blessing”. It shows how when we water the souls of others through God’s life-giving words, they can start to blossom into all He meant them to become, even when we have failed them in the past. I have been testing this teaching this week with the daughter who is most like me (and thus, the most likely to have a current disagreement with me). Things have gone much better than they have in the past due to this good teaching on blessing. But the road ahead may be long. Perhaps these blessing teachings will also bring hope and comfort to parents of prodigals, many of whom do end up returning, and we will certainly pray and believe for that.

    You are in my thankful prayers.

    May God bless you!



    • Rene Yoshi

      I wish I had heard some of these things, too. We made plenty of mistakes as well, but like you said, “God has been merciful…”. I had heard of the power of blessing while still raising children, and it is a good reminder as I enter the ‘Mimi’ stage with two beautiful little granddaughters. Thank you, gwennon! ((hugs))

  • Wisdom Wednesday: Receiving and Giving Criticism | Sweet Rains

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