Friday, October 28, 2011
Discipline Is A Good Thing
You see, our 3rd grader, Joseph, has become quite the talker this school year. During a routine parent-teacher conference a few weeks ago, his teacher revealed that Mr. Joseph likes to converse with his table-mates, or tell the occasional joke to make the class erupt in laughter, during times when he should be quietly focusing on the lesson being taught. His dad and I were shocked, not to learn that he likes to talk and be silly (We already know that!), but that he was doing it during school when he clearly knows better. Now we aren't naive to believe that our son is the perfect little angel who does everything right all the time; however, we send him to school to "get his lesson" and we expect him to display the characteristics of respect and obedience that we instill into him. Those same characteristics that he prays for every single night.
Jeremy and I firmly believe in Proverbs 22:6, which tells us to "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." As parents, we understand that discipline is a part of that training ground.
As much as I believe in disciplining my children, I have to admit that I'm much softer on them than my husband. I tend to be a bit more lenient in punishing them. It just breaks my heart when I have to go hard on them, and sometimes I'll give them a few fair warnings before I really let them have it. Although Jeremy was ready to harshly punish him after strike one, I stepped in and pleaded his case.
"Give him another chance, babe. This isn't like him. Maybe he was just having a bad day." I reasoned with my husband. He obliged, and had a little mercy on our son. He got away with a stern warning.
Apparently, Mr. Joseph didn't get the point of his warning, because his teacher has contacted me twice since then. He continues to talk and be Mr. Funny Man, completely disregarding his warnings and mild punishments from before. He chose to continue in his unpleasant behavior, knowing that it goes against his better judgment. So today, our little talker has been silenced. His laughs quickly became tears when his father and I began to explain the repercussions of his actions. Though a huge part of me wanted to renige on the whole plan of his punishment for the next week, wipe his tears, and hold him in my arms, I stood firmly. I know that this is good for him, because it will force him to see the error of his ways, and think twice before continuing in that way. While I don't take pleasure in punishing any of my children, I know that discipline is necessary in order to drive out ill behavior and push goodness out of them. As Proverbs 22:15 states, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." It helps to keep them in line with the values, morals, and principles their father and I teach them.
He is so not a happy kid right now, but he'll thank us in the long run. When he's older, he'll look back and see that discipline was good for him.
As adults we can also have foolishness bound in our hearts, can't we? And because we sometimes allow that folly to cause us to act outside of the character of what our Father teaches us in His word, He has to discipline us. Indeed He is merciful towards us, giving us chance after chance to line up with His principles, and He is ever faithful and just to forgive us, but sometimes He just has to do what He has to do in order to whip us back in shape. He has had to discipline me MANY times, and though it did not feel good at the time, I am so thankful that He did. I am grateful that He loved me enough to chastise me. And I'm even more grateful that His chastisement does not come from a place of anger, but of love. He does it because He wants see the best in us.
Here's what Hebrews 12:4-11 has to say about God disciplining His children:
"In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? 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 the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” 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, not true sons and daughters at all. 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 spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order 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."
See? Discipline is a good thing. So don't get angry or upset with God if you find yourself It's just that He loves you, and wants you to live righteous before Him. He's simply trying to bring out the good in you.
May you live in His love.