by Danna Appleby
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Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
The Old Testament illustrates many evil kings who did not follow the way of the Lord. Sons were born who became even more evil than their fathers because of the example set before them.
King David may have been a great Psalmist and a man after Godís own heart, but he was a father who evidently did not participate in the discipline of his children. It was evident with his sons, Absalom and Amnon. They did some very evil deeds including rape and murder. Their father grieved over their actions but still did nothing.
My father took an active role in my discipline. Because I was strong-willed, I had to have the rod of correction applied to my seat of understanding more times than I can count. It made me unhappy, but now I realize I was corrected because I was so greatly loved. Both of my parents wanted to see me become a better person than I was headed without it and did their part to snatch me from the fires of hell. (Jude :23)
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. Prov. 13:24
Now, my strong-willed character has been turned around in another way and with a deliberate passion to further the Kingdom of God! Even though it hurt my feelings at the time, discipline was effective. For those of you bringing up strong-willed children keep working with those precious little ones for there is hope for their future. Iím a living testimony!
Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
My husband and I recently took our two grandsons to a motor-cross event. Anxiously, we squeezed our way through the crowd to find our seating at the large arena. Thousands of other wide-eyed youngsters and adults were there also.
Unfortunately, our anticipation was short-lived because seated directly behind us were two rambunctious little boys having the time of their lives. Each of them laughed hysterically as they beat each other over the head with their rolled up programs. Arms and legs flailed as two stoic fathers sat on either side of them like silent bookends. Ever now and then, one father would come alive enough to dodge being hit in the head as well. Our youngest grandson gawked in amazement and I didnít bother to correct him since I figured it was a lesson all in itself.
Merriment soon came to an abrupt end when one boy got hurt and his laughter turned to an outburst of tears. The passive fathers looked on with not a word spoken in consolation or correction. It was evident these fathers were not familiar with training and discipline.
Some years ago, I watched as a friend of mine disciplined her toddler. She did it in such a beautiful way that I have not forgotten it. Her little one was acting in a way mama wasnít too happy about. So mama gave a swat to a diapered bottom and immediately pulled her darling close to her side all in one svelte movement. She never raised her voice, but let her daughter know that her behavior was unacceptable but that she was loved -- all at the same time.
Youngsters can become upset when their parents do not allow them to go their own way and do as they please. But to allow them to do that will only bring a parent heartache in future years. The next verse may actually make your heart skip a beat at the very thought:
Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death. Prov. 19:18
There are those who believe their children have a mind of their own and should be allowed to choose their own way. From the time the child is very young, parents may laugh at what is said or done because it seems to be so cute, but those things left uncorrected will eventually embarrass them in public. As parents, we must instruct our children and grandchildren in the right way, pray for them, and then leave the rest to God. We must not sit back, but guide them just as a shepherd would his sheep and as the Good Shepherd guides us. Children are much like sheep and do not know the right way to go.
Direction doesnít have to become a family battle. Children should never be made to feel like theyíre being beaten over the head, but we can bring life lessons into the picture along the way. Each day lessons can be taught from whatever is happening at the time.
For example, our oldest grandson has been working for my husband this summer. Since a considerable amount of time has to be spent in the car traveling from one place to another, my husband has been taking the opportunity to give relevant instructions without our grandson even realizing it. It has been a wonderful time of learning about life, people and situations.
One thing we must keep in mind is that time is of the essence for the years pass by very quickly. Before we know it those little ones are no longer small but an adult and out on his own in the real world. We need to take every opportunity to instill in their minds valuable lessons about life and especially about the Lord their God. That way they will become honest, hard working, sincere citizens in our society. When we take the opportunity to teach them well, weíll be amazed years later when we hear them teaching the same things to our grandchildren. I know I am. (Joel 1:3)
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deut. 6:6-7
Father, I praise you for the children you have given to us. They are truly gifts from You. Help us to be a vessel that You can work through to guide, heal, protect, nurture, correct and instruct our little ones. Help us to take discipline very seriously because you have instructed us to do that in your Word. Help us not to be lazy with discipline. Help us to be stern at the right times but always loving. Help us to be Christ-like so our children will see you through us. Help us to be faithful to never let our children down. Thank you again for those you have entrusted to us. In Jesusí name. Amen.
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Often times young parents don't realize that dicipline is love which can also apply to a lot of the older generation. It produces children of wants, never to be satisfied. Wonderful, Wonderful article !