Well, here we go, part 2.
I think its important to note that as much as our children will need grace from both God and ourselves, we will need grace from them. We are not perfect, we will get it wrong, sometimes horribly. But I believe that so long as the driving force behind your actions is a Godly love for you child, a deep desire to see them grow into all that God has planned and to not let anything get in the way of seeing Gods plan for their lives unfold before them, even if it is themselves, then we will be able to correct any miscalculations in our course as parents.
My Dad didn’t hit us as children, or at least I can’t remember, but he had a look that stopped us dead. The mere thought or warning of this look made us behave, well it made me behave, I can’t speak for my brother. But, even that is not enough as it is an external motivator. We need to train our children to be internally motivated to what is right, so that even when everything around them is saying do this or do that, their default setting, their point of reference is an internal compass informed by what they have learnt.
What about shouting, I know and have seen many parents blast their children and they have responded brilliantly, at least so far as their actions are concerned. James 1:20 says “for a man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”NIV. After all isn’t that what we really want, righteousness? Fruit is not fruit if it only looks like fruit. Fruit looks, feels and tastes like fruit, so just because there is obedience, doesn’t mean there is a change of heart, just because the child listens, it doesn’t mean next time when no one is there to shout, he will behave.
I think at this point it is important to point out that family, is a group effort, so is parenting! Not just Mom and Dad, but extended family, friends etc. We ned Christ, we need His word and we need a community of supportive believers to raise our children. My Son has amazing grandparents, he is never short of love, guidance and nurturing. One thing I love most is that he is constantly surrounded by myself, his Grand Father and his Uncle, I mean he is NEVER without one of us. Now that is how it was intended. Men raise Men, so in order for my son to become a man, he needs to be surrounded, not merely in contact with, Men!
You need a church family of people you have submitted your parenting too. It is hard, but we need people around us whom we trust enough to speak into our lives. We are not yet there, but we are pursuing this. I believe it is one of the reasons why community is so important to God.
What if he/she stops loving me, you may ask. Proverbs 19:27 says”Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge”KJV basically, stop listening to instruction that causes you to stray from knowledge, it’s saying that that’s a lie, they won’t stop! Proverbs 13:24 puts it like this “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to disciplinehim.”NIV. The words diligent and discipline need to come alive to you. Diligence is a character trait missing from most people today, it’s so important to create an environment where your children know where the boundaries are. In the book I have used for these 2 blogs, the author relays a nice example of children and boundaries.
He speaks of a gate-keeper and how he goes to the gates and tries to push them after they are locked. He knows they are locked, what he wants is to see that they are locked. That is why he pushes, not to open, but to confirm that they will stand firm. That is our children. They will push, and we must stay locked. They know we are, they are pushing because they want confirmation that the boundary is there, it means they are safe. So be diligent!
The second word is discipline. Many words come from this, and many feel it is interchangeable with smacking. I don’t believe this to be true. Sure, part of discipline will be some form of smacking, but what the word speaks of is a life style, a journey. It is a promise, an undertaking by you as a parent to walk this road out with your child so that they are trained in the way that they SHOULD go. It’s not a warning to your children that a severe beating is imminent, but it is an obligation on parents to parent their children. Provide boundaries, share life, give love unsparingly and walk out this life with them, be there to pick them up and cheer when they rise. “Love is not merely sentiment, it is a costly commitment that seeks the greatest good for another.” L Tomczak
Remember, the victory is not found in the absence of failure or in the presence of perpetual victory, but in the heart of a person who chooses to rise each time he falls with the resolve to never fall again.
Let not the falling down be ones full stop, let it be the getting up!
But I feel it is important for my child to learn his/her own way, you may say. “If you permit a child to nurture a habit which he will one day be forced (with greater difficulty) to break, you are the cruelest of Parents.” L Tomczak. You decide!
Is not child abuse more about leaving your child to grow up without any boundaries, guidance, disciplship. Basically, naturally and un-inhibited. Isn’t that more akin to child abuse than Parents who commit to raise their children in the ways of the Lord, using wisdom, discernment, structure and yes discipline, all based on a foundation of Love? We want to parent like Father God, and His word says that he disciplines those He loves. I submit this humbly!
I cannot stand it when my son cries after I administer some physical education to his seat of understanding. However, Proverbs 19:18 says “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”KJV. Lets be frank, it’s not about my comfort, it’s about his future. Hebrews says it beautifully in Hebrews 12:11 “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. Now that’s an investment I am willing to make in my child’s life.
But smacking makes people violent! Well, you may find many criminals in prison were smacked/abused as children. But I believe that the fact most come from Fatherless homes has a greater impact. Violence begets violence, absolutely, hurting people hurt people. But neither of these two descriptions have anything to do with solid biblical correction. Proverbs 29:17 says “Discipline your children and they will bring you the delights you desire.”NIV. The outcome seems good to me.
I have seen many children walk out of action movies or playing after reading some form of violent book, these children play out what they have just witnessed, the power, the skill, the martial arts the super human strength. I have, however, never seen a child who has gone through loving biblical correction go out onto the play ground and re-enact what he has just experienced. Just a thought!
But there are still so many people with a negative view of biblical correction. The reason being that most of us have never associated correction with love. Our distorted view has been influenced by others’ distorted views, and so the circle continues. We need to ask ourselves whether we disagree with biblical correction based on what the Scriptures and God are saying, or do we disagree because of an experience that has led us to the incorrect understanding of what Scripture is saying?
Always remember as well, correction is not rejection, under the umbrella of correction there should be no rejection, bitterness, hatred, abuse, anger (from your side). If there is perhaps you need to re-evaluate your methods/motives.
In his Book, Larry Tomczak shares that “loving correction reinforces with a painful experience the principle of the parents’ authority over the child, and lets the child know that the particular action or attitude is unacceptable. This will only occur if the child is totally secure in the love of his/her parents and the behaviour taught is also being modeled by the parents”
I don’t believe there is an exact science to this, or a theorem that will explain away every doubt and will show us how to act in every situation. What I do believe, is that I am on a journey as Father. I am learning, I am growing in knowledge and in skill, but most importantly, I am growing in my love for God and for my Children. This will be my catalyst, this will be the driving force behind my actions. I am believing in God for a miracle, I am believing that he will turn me, a sinner, a man of many mistakes, past, present and future, into a man who will raise a son who will be salt and light to the world, who will be a Man like non other, a Godly man, a husband and eventually a Father. My warrior prince will one day become a man of God who when he steps forward will cause the kingdom of darkness to retreat. That is my prayer and my hope!