Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Discipline IS Love
Have you heard it before? "I love my child too much to discipline them." Or, "I love them, but there are times when I have to discipline them."
For the record, discipline IS love! There is no separation between the two. As long as you do it right.
We love our children, therefore, we teach and train them not to do wrong. For their own safety. For their happiness. For the salvation of their souls.
Proverbs 23:14 - "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."
People who differ the two (love and discipline) will often withhold affection from their children while they are being disciplined. No hugs for the bad child. Once all is straightened out and forgiven, then we'll be all smoochy again.
Is this a good idea?
Today, Gloria got into some trouble. I know, hard for you to believe; but, it happens. Anyway, she had to be taught not to get into things that don't belong to her. Oh the tears! She looked soo pathetic. She was not having a fit, just crying from the "training." As I was having her sit down (something she doesn't care to do) for a few minutes, she reached out her arms to me for a hug.
What to do? Do I make her sit for the allotted time and not speak to her until she has served her time? Or, do I hug her?
I hugged her, of course. She continued to wimper, but I talked softly to her and told her I loved her. Then, she sat for the allotted time. When she got up before I told her she could, we went through it all over again. And, again, she got a hug.
She didn't get her way. She still paid the consequences. But, as they say, "a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down!" How much easier for a child to face the consequences than to know that mommy still loves her? What better way to teach a child that discipline is love?
"I spank you because I love you." Is that clear to the child who is being pushed away until the parent forgives? The child is saying, "I still love you even though you're upset with me." Yes, it can be used to manipulate - IF you are pushed over and don't follow through with the consequences. Consequences are to be paid - i.e. sitting in the chair. But, hugs and kisses and kind words can be given at the same time.
Often, if we push our children away, the seed of bitterness is sown in that little heart. The longer the child is left to himself, the more that seed gets watered. Then, once mommy has decided that little Suzy has suffered long enough and it's now ok to give her some affection, she can't understand why the little princess has turned sour. How much more work does that mother have to do to root out that plant that she has allowed to grow?
Christ does not turn His back on His children. He walks with us and holds our hand through the chastisement. He doesn't leave us alone. "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." He chastises us in love and with love. His arms are open to us when we look to Him in humility and wonder if and how He can still accept and love us after our sin. Then, though we have to pay the consequences, we are comforted in knowing that our Father continues to love us.
Hebrews 12:6,11 - "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
As parents, we paint a picture of Christ to our children through our actions and responses to them. What kind of picture am I painting for my children?
Today, by God's grace, I think it was one worth hanging in Gloria's memory.
By the way, this is how she looked when it was all over with.