We’ve been learning about raising godly children based on the interviews I’ve conducted with many young adults who are serving the Lord. Their insight amazes me! In my last post (which I confused myself by calling it Part 6 when it was really Part 7!), we learned about the importance of replacing bad or even neutral activities with godly ones. And if you’ve missed any of the previous posts, look here. I think we’ll all enjoy today’s post!
At first, I wrestled with this post, but since 100% of my respondents told me that they received discipline as a youngster, I need to talk about it. I feel that the importance of early discipline cannot be understated.
I know there is a lot of discussion about the negative side of this issue, but If you could do what I have done – if you could talk at length to fifty godly, happy, well-adjusted adults and ask them some very specific questions about their childhoods – you would develop a picture of a loving home, with carefully and lovingly administered correction. You would see that their home is happy because the children learn to obey, and ultimately because the parents obeyed the Word of God by training their children carefully. You would see a home where the kids go to bed without a struggle, the parents devotedly care for the children, and the young people are happy and pleasant.
It is this picture I want you to have in your mind as you read this chapter. I’m not talking about robots; I’m talking about young people who understand their boundaries and have joyfully embraced the place God has for them. These people know that one of Satan’s big strategies is to magnify the limitations, thereby creating discontent. But these young folks have chosen to focus on the possibilities of serving the Lord. Though perhaps they didn’t understand it at the time, they eventually comprehended and benefited by the discipline they received as children.
Let me start by saying that there is a way to discipline that is actually harmful rather than helpful. I call this:
SELFISH DISCIPLINE – it is:
- The goal of the parent is his or her own comfort
- Discipline is performed out of frustration and anger
- The parent merely bullies a young person into submission “because I said so!”
- Discipline is not connected in any way with the crime committed.
By contrast, the vast majority of my respondents experienced what I call:
- Only when necessary
- Rarely in anger
- Equal in proportion to the crimes committed
- With a goal of gradual training in the habit of obedience
- To gradually enlist the young person’s will
- Decisively when the young person is rebellious
In our quest to pass on our values to the next generation, we should never underestimate the value of Loving Correction. It is not abuse, nor is it bullying. It is perhaps one of the most gentle and caring ways of showing someone the difference between right and wrong, and starting them on their way to a joyous life. To care for children is to guide them in the way of responsibility and nobility, duty and selflessness, strength and virtue.
Greg is a young assistant pastor who also is a successful entrepreneur. Though he is still in his mid-twenties, his faithfulness and thoroughness on the job are building a strong reputation, and he finds himself busier than ever, even in this difficult economy. Not surprisingly, he is a man of few words. “We feared Dad,” Greg explained, “and therefore feared God.”
Greg realizes that a child will often think of God the same way he thinks of a parent. If a child loves, respects, and obeys his parents, it becomes so much easier to transfer that heart of dedication to the Lord. Obedience is an important lesson he is trying to teach his two young children, ages one and three.
There is so much more I could say about this subject – the Importance of Early Correction, the Secret to Effective Correction, and the Positive Effects of Early Correction – but there simply is not enough room here. Please keep your eyes peeled for my new book which will be coming out early 2013! It will have many more goodies: lots of stories from the Overcomers, Thought Questions, charts, graphs, and study questions.
Until then, can you think of some examples of Loving Correction? Share them with us!