Sunday, January 15, 2006

Disciplining our Children

I've talked with two different friends this week who are having some discipline issues with their children and it got me to thinking.

Naturally with four children of our own, we have our fair share of discipline issues, but it seems we are often told how well-mannered our children are. Now, before you throw any tomatoes at me, let me explain.

The Bible tells us in Job that man is born but few days and full of trouble and Proverbs tells us that foolishness is bound in the heart of a child. When a new, precious, beautiful baby is born into this world he or she is like a piece of clay put upon a potter's wheel. They have to be formed and shaped into what they will become. Without the forming and shaping and constant spinning and wetting by the potter to form them into what they were created to be they will remain 'full of trouble'and 'foolish'.

My motto that I find myself constantly saying, wether it be to others or to myself under my own breath as I count to ten once again, is 'train their hearts, train their hearts, train their hearts'. I've been known to say this, very lovingly of course, to my dear sisters-in-law when we're together and one of my little neices or nephews gets into trouble. I'm sure they'd probably like to smack ME instead, but it's true. Discipline is all for nothing if we're not, at the same time, striving to train the hearts of our children. They have only been on this earth for a very short time. They don't know how to act. All they know is their own childish, 'foolish', flesh-fed inclinations. It is up to US to gently guide them and train them in the way they should go. Don't just tell them not to do something, get down on their level, literally, and explain to them WHY they shouldn't do something. Help them to see things from another point of view other than just their own. "Honey, you can't hit your little brother. How would you feel if someone bigger than you hit you? That's right, it would hurt, wouldn't it. And that would probably make you mad too, wouldn't it? Well, guess what? That's exactly how Johnny feels when you hit him. If you wouldn't want someone hitting you, then you shouldn't hit someone else because they don't like it and it hurts them. Jesus wants you to love little Johnny and help protect him and take care of him because you're his big brother and that's what big brothers do". THAT'S training their hearts instead of just disciplining them.

And I'll leave you with this... we drill into our children daily the Golden Rule. It is our goal that treating others the way they would want others to treat them becomes second nature to them, something they do without even thinking. And you know what, it's working. We see the fruit of our labors coming forth in our little ones and it's so wonderful to see.

No, our children are not perfect. Far from it. But we are doing the best we know how to train their hearts with the love that our Heavenly Father has for us, HIS disobedient children who also need guidance and training.


3FoldChord said...

i remember my brother always quoting the Golden Rule to me amd saing that if I was mean to him it must be because I want him to be mean to me, so he always made sure he was mean to me, LOl. And being so much younger than I, he'd often confuse simple mistakes with 'meanness' them hit me because Imusthave wanted it, LOL.

funny how we think our kids are anoying when we are withthem all day, yet others think they are well behaved. I guess we need to get out of the house more

Col323 said...

Thank you for posting on this.
I needed to read this...God spoke through you today.