One of the favorite vacation spots for my wife and me is Gatlinburg, TN. We try to spend a few days each year in this vacation mecca. We enjoy the beautiful scenery and relaxed atmosphere. We spend much of our time walking the main street of Gatlinburg and visiting the various shops. We enjoy meeting people from various sections of our country who choose this as one of their vacation areas. In fact, there are people from foreign countries who visit, as well. It is always a time of refreshing relaxation for us.
On one of our trips, when we were eating at a local restaurant, there was a disturbance at a nearby table. A mother and two of her children were at this table. The oldest appeared to be about eight or ten years old. Evidently, he was being instructed by his mother to do something to which he objected. The child became rather vocal in his resistance and finally hit his mother in the face with a closed fist. We were shocked that a child would treat his mother with such disrespect, especially at such a tender age. We were shocked even further when the mother did absolutely nothing to correct the child for his gross misbehavior.
I’m afraid that what we witnessed is more commonly practiced in homes across America than we like to imagine. Children are growing into adulthood with little or no guidance. They are frequently left to fend for themselves in the development of their character and, more often than not, with tragic results. They grow up having little respect for authority; consequently, they are constantly in trouble at school, have difficulty socializing with their peers, and end up in trouble with the law. More than likely the lifestyle they have developed is perpetuated when they try to establish their own home and rear children. As a result, society’s ills continue to increase in an ever-widening circle.
The administration of proper discipline is one of the fundamental responsibilities God has placed in the hands of parents. He intends that our children be given proper guidelines in life so that they can discern between right and wrong conduct. “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15). God has said, “Train up a child in the way he should go…” (Prov. 22:6). Part of the training necessarily involves proper discipline.
Here are some ground rules for disciplining your children. Keep your word. Make no idle threats or promises. Do not harangue. It is hard to find the off-switch on some mothers and fathers once they get started scolding. Be just. Children have an acute sense of fair play. If punishment is involved, make it fit the situation. Teach your child that forgiveness is real; that you have been the recipient of forgiveness yourself. Whenever you can, as the child grows older, discuss situations which reflect on life’s values so that he can construct his own value system. The exercise of proper discipline is not the same as abuse, but is a God-ordained way of teaching children acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
Discipline yields a harvest of righteousness in our lives and in the lives of our children. It is the password to freedom; it gives delight to the heart. I’m Roger Johnson and this insight to life is brought to you by the Edgewood church of Christ.