With this article I am trying to bring some balance into the picture. “Law” is not a flexible topic… black or white, right or wrong. However to bring some balance I suggest that LAW MUST BE JUST, and CONSEQUENCES SHOULD BE CONSISTENT. The end of LAW should not be just be cold, heartless punishment for the offender. Use all the examples you want, but when you are the offender in a traffic situation, the only thing you are hoping for is MERCY. In the home situation, when the “law” is broken, there should be consequences. However, the consequences should not bring into question the love between a parent and a child, and should be considerate of circumstances, and maintain the goal of proper direction for the child, (cf. Hebrews 12.5-10).
Discipline involves several things: 1.) TEACHING GIVEN, 2.) LAW (Boundaries and consequences), 3. CONSISTENCY EMPLOYED (Can’t be one way when you feel good, and another way when you feel bad.) 4.) DISCIPLINE CAN BE ADMINISTERED (This doesn’t always mean a spanking.)
Let’s consider some Scriptures:
1.) Proverbs 22.15 “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” Now I’m not an expert of Jewish society or culture, but I don’t think the “rod” was used for every infraction. Godly parents have the understanding of what is the right time for the “rod.” Today we might just use a switch. We grew up with it, we didn’t die, and always knew we were loved. Some parents have no idea how to be a parent… They know the “how” of having one, but not the “how” of raising one. A few have made “parenting” suspect, and “discipline” downright scary. Spock has spooked many a parent.
2.) Proverbs 19.18 “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” Balance is needed in all discipline whether it is “corporal” or not. Parents need to always allow themselves time to COOL OFF! A parent who says, “Do you want a whipping?!” Never gets the answer back, “Yes Daddy, give me a whipping.” Of course they want no punishment, but sometimes, even when there are tears, the discipline is necessary, or else respect for parental authority is diminished, and important lessons are lacking in enforcement. Do it while there is time. The wife says, “Whip him!” Husband says, “You whip him, he’s six feet tall!” Train him before it’s too late!
3.) Proverbs 13.24 “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” It’s weird isn’t it? The political correctness group sees “the rod,” “discipline,” as a negative… The child of course doesn’t enjoy it. Yet when a parent loves a child, and disciplines out of love and concern, later the child says, “THANK YOU!”
4.) Hebrews 12.5-11 “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
Read the above Scriptures carefully, and read with parental eyes as well as with brotherly eyes. Loving, caring for, and disciplining your child, and a brother who strays, is not too different. The source is a heart of love, the discipline is meant to bring them back to the right path, the fruit is good.
My brother Ed, (sorry to pick on him so much) once told Dad when he was about to get a whipping, “It ain’t gonna do no good Dad.” Now I would never have said this, but Ed was cut from a different cloth. He was more of a free-thinking-challenging sort. Dad looked at Ed, and said, “Let’s try.” Dad never backed off from doing what was NEEDED. Yet he never whipped us when he was angry…
Principles we learned and now pass on:
1.) Never threaten. Do what you say, or don’t say it.
2.) Keep teaching simple and clear.
3.) Softly and Firmly
4.) Never be vengeful
5.) No embarrassment. It doesn’t help a child to embarrass them (cf. Eph. 6.1-4).
6.) Afterwards – The goal is always “afterwards,” and while children don’t recognize this… the parent most assuredly needs to have this in mind. What is your end game? What is your goal in discipline? Same when dealing with brethren who fall. What is your end game?
“Grandma’s glasses” (Article from www. jackexum.com)
They were stair-cased kids, just old enough to be in school. Bad boys – really not, but mischievous would be a better word for it. With both parents working, it was an open door of opportunity, and the daily ‘rap’ sheet was continually being filled with bad reports. The parents had to have some relief.
Vacation time came and arrangement had to be made for someone to ‘keep the kids’. The word was out and all refused the job at any price. From the parents view, two weeks away from them was an absolute necessity. Without this ‘time of recovery’ the parents would be permanently enrolled in the “Ha-Ha Hotel”.
Even professional ‘baby-sitters’ knew about the boys and were conveniently booked for the dates they needed. Taking the boys with them was out of the question.
At the last resort, Grandma said, “I’ll take em!” This possibility had already been discussed and quickly dismissed. Grandpa had died in recent years, and Grandma was still living alone. The small but comfortable farm house had been her home for nearly sixty years. She was old and frail and would be no match for the challenge of two kids that were clearly out of control.
She insisted and assured her son and daughter-in-law that things would be fine. After all, she had experience having raising her own family. Having no alternative they packed the bags for them and made the drive to the country.
It was a beautiful old house that was nestled under three large Oaks. With thirty acres to roam the boys would know true freedom for the first time.. They had never been to Grandma’s before. This would be a real learning experience. It was a glorious day. The air was clean and crisp and the leaves had already begin to turn. The white picket fence that bordered the house was a lovely invitation to bring people in, not to keep them out. The room, the space, the open spaces was something altogether different from city life. At home it was “Stay in the yard” which meant a 50 by 200 piece of ground, hardly big enough to occupy the energies of two growing boys. The car door swung open and the kids hit the ground running, whooping and hollowing. Years of being bottled up were suddenly turned loose on the acreage that lay before them.
The parents kissed their sons goodbye and left with the simple instructions, “You boys try to be good and help Grandma around the house”. As they drove away the mother said a silent prayer as the father looked at Grandma in the rear view mirror. She was holding hands with her grandsons, one on each side.
Things were different at Grandma’s house. She laid down some simple rules and expected them to be followed. The meals were cooked on an old black wood burning stove, but the food was fresh and good, different from the take out food that was brought in at home. When they lied or disobeyed, Grandma always seemed to have a small switch from the peach tree handy and didn’t hesitate to use it. “Don’t do that again,” was her simple reminder.
As they lay in their bed the first night the older boy said, “Grandma is strange. She seems to know everything we plan to do even before we do it”. His brother observed, “Yeah, and she’s strong”. They heard Grandma praying nightly through the paper thin walls, and one night they had to go help Grandma get up off her knees. She said it was the change in the weather that caused it.
Beginning the second week, the older brother turned into a miniature Sherlock Holmes, and the younger brother had nothing but the mantle of a fat headed Watson to fall on his shoulders. As Grandma was taking her afternoon nap, ‘Sherlock’ snitched her glasses. They found they’re favorite spot in the barn, and with a bit of reverence and care, the older brother carefully removed the old beady looking pair of Grandma’s glasses.
“Them’s is the answer,” he said ” I been thinking about it all night”. The younger brother looked on with special interest. “What do you mean, them’s is the answer?” he replied. “Those ain’t nothing but a pair of old glasses”.
They looked the glasses over very carefully, and then the older brother said, “Did you ever know how much she was see through these things? Every time we were cold, or hot or hungry or tired out, she looked through these things and knew all about it.” The younger brother looked up and added, “and each time we told a lie, or snitch something from the kitchen or poked the pigs, she looked right through these old wired up things and that was it”. They held the glasses carefully in their hands and thought of what great power there was in them. “Last night she told us about heaven” the older boy whispered. “I know”, came the uneasy reply. “I think she’s been there and come back!” “No, she ain’t” came the stern rebuke. “She told me she sees heaven through these glasses.” They moved to the corner of the barn where there was a window, and as they lifted the glasses toward the sky you could hear them murmur, “Wonder if we see heaven through these glasses?”
Solomon wrote, “By humility and the fear of God are riches, and honor, and (Grandma’s Glasses) life”. – (Proverbs 22:4)
The prodigal son in Luke 15 is a prime example of love and discipline and grace… read and learn!
Grow in grace brethren!