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“Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.” (Proverbs 23:13 NIV)

Discipline gives direction.

If you touch a hot stove, you get burned.  The discipline you receive is the burn on your hand.  When you scorch your finger on a stove, you don’t forget it quickly.  The pain from the injury lasts long enough you remember.  When you’re presented with a hot stove again, you won’t touch it.  The lesson learned quickly.

In today’s world, discipline is a highly debatable topic.  As a childless writer, I’m not a parenting guru, nor do I profess that I am.  However, the world is different from when I was in school; I’m not sure for the better.  When I was in school, every student knew what kind of paddle the teachers had.  Most were wooden with holes drilled in them for extra sting.  In sixth grade, I received a spanking from Mr. Morgan in front of the entire class.  My crime, clowning around on a day he wasn’t in the mood.  He taught me to respect him and authority that day over 40 years ago, a lesson I have not forgotten.

Discipline is good.

For some reason, in today’s world, people avoid discipline like the plague.  Understandably, having your hand slapped before you can raid the cookie jar isn’t fun, but it is necessary.  How are children to learn if we don’t discipline them?

My mom used a race track.  No lie.  Hot Wheels cars ran on an orange strip of plastic; the sides raised slightly to keep the tiny cars on the course.  We had plenty in our house since I had brothers.  My mother used it more than once on my backside when I was a child.  I’m grateful she loved me enough to discipline me.  Her efforts made me who I am today.  She taught me wrong from right, just as Mr. Morgan did that day in class.

Abuse is not okay.  Hitting a child in uncontrolled anger is not okay.  But discipline is.  A controlled, measured response that teaches the child a lesson is necessary to produce healthy adults.  What that looks like in your life is a decision you have to make for yourself.  I’m unqualified to offer such advice since it’s something I have never done.

One of my good friends who is currently raising three teenagers, has a philosophy I agree with completely.  Last week, she had a conflict with her eldest.  She informed her daughter that her job as a parent was to raise her to be a responsible society member.  As such, she was not going to agree with nor understand every decision she made.   

Spare the rod spoil the child is scriptural.  Parenting is a divine task.  Partner with God to know the best course of action to take.

Question of the Day:

How do you use discipline in your life?

Further Reading: Isaiah 19:1-21:17 NIV, Galatians 2:1-16 NIV, Psalm 59 NIV, Proverbs 23:13-14 NIV

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