Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Proverbs 19:18-19 To the rescue!

This morning we will be looking at two verses that today’s parents need to heed: 

Discipline your son, for there is hope;

    do not set your heart on putting him to death.   
A man of great wrath will pay the penalty,

    for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again. (Proverbs 19:18-19 ESV)

We live in an age in which children are the focus of the family - their sports, their lessons, their play dates, their clothing, everything about them is the center of the parents. The family revolves around the child. And that puts a family out of kilter. It creates problems in the marriage, and it certainly is not good for the child. In these families we have enabling parents who rush to rescue their children from any pain or consequences. To spare every child from “low self esteem” we provide trophies for all and we lower standards, so every child can meet them.

But the Bible makes it clear that consequences can actually save the child from future harm - even the death penalty, according to today’s verse! Feeling the consequences of poor choices from a young age can actually spare that child from continuing down the wrong path. If a child leaves his homework at home, mom should not rush into the classroom with it. If he instead misses a recess to redo it, he is much less likely to forget again. No one ever died from having to redo a homework assignment!

It shocked me when I asked my students the other day how many actually have regular chores that they do at home. Maybe four out of 36 do any regular chores (which may be something like occasionally doing the dishes or feeding the dog) - only one makes her own lunch, folds and puts away all the laundry and cleans the bathroom in addition to making her bed each day! Naturally, she’s one of my highest achievers! When do the parents figure these kids will learn how to do these things? When they go to college (if they even make that) or in a marriage???

We are in danger of raising a generation of self-indulgent wimps who are incapable of competing in the world! The child who is continually rescued from his mistakes, will continue to make bigger ones. If he receives a reward for everything he does - even those things which he should be expected to do (brush his teeth, make his bed, feed the pets, do his homework), he will never learn the value of persevering for the prize.

Parents are exhorted throughout the Bible to do the job of disciplining. A disciple is someone who follows a teacher closely. In our homes, we are to be training our children to be disciples of Christ. This requires intentional parenting. It requires disciplining. They need to see us occasionally fail and grow from the trial, and they need to experience failure and consequences themselves. It’s part of the training.

So, if you are tempted to continually rescue your child, resist the temptation! Look at the bigger picture: God wants your child to grow into the adult he was created to become. You need to partner with God - not get in the way.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)  


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