Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Planting Seeds and Disciplining Kids

Today I had the opportunity to visit my oldest son at his school as he participated in a project planting cabbage plants with his class. It was great to watch my son dig in the dirt and see him be proud of the job he did on planting his cabbage. There were kids all over the place that were planting their cabbage plants and having a great time. Then I heard a teacher reprimanding a kid who was going around purposefully stepping on other kids plants. 

As I drove back to the office to, among other things, write today's post I thought about the kids planting and the boy ruining the hard work. It caused me to think about what kind of seeds we are planting with our kids. Are we planting seeds of respect that are watered with discipline? Or are we allowing our children to run wild like kudzu that can't be stopped?

The Bible is clear on what it takes for parents to raise children to respect others. Every time I read Proverbs 13:24 I can't help but be saddened. Mainly because I realize that there are parents who avoid disciplining their kids only to the detriment of the child. It says "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him" (NIV). I bet Solomon wrote this after a tough day with his kids! Now I'm not going to get into a debate in this post over whether you ought to spank your kids or not. Personally I was spanked as a kid growing up and it taught me actions have consequences. I think I turned out all right. My kids have been spanked since they were small and we are regularly told how well behaved our children are. I also see children that aren't spanked or disciplined at all and they generally run wild. I don't think Solomon wrote such wise words for no reason, you know he was the wisest man to ever live! 

I want to talk more about the last part of that verse. It basically tells us if we love our children we will discipline them. This verse is so true when it comes to the love of a parent. If we want our children to grow up to respect us and respect others they need to learn how the world operates when it comes to consequences for bad behavior. Otherwise we raise our children to be spoiled brats that know no limits and are holy terrors for the rest of society. Think about the opposite view of what Solomon wrote. It would mean that if we don't discipline our kids then we are actually showing hatred toward them. I don't know many well-meaning parents that would want to show hatred towards their children. When we don't discipline our children that is exactly what we are doing.

As a parent I know disciplining kids is a tough thing to do. Sometimes you want to just give up because they don't listen and you're tired of hearing yourself fuss. Like I've counseled parents for years, be firm, be consistent and stand your ground. In the end you'll be showing them a type of love that will far outlast the time they spend under your roof.

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