Provoking Our Children to Wrath
A few days ago, there was an article in the main stream media about a father in Riverview, Florida who disciplined his daughter by beating her with a belt and then shaving off her hair. Apparently, she had stolen some jewelry from a nearby store and used a Game Boy without permission.
Now, I am all for Godly discipline. Stealing is always wrong and taking something without permission should evoke a proper response from a divinely guided parent. But I am deeply concerned about a mom or dad who disregards all the safe guards in the scripture about appropriate discipline for our kids. In particular, it is so very important that we not ignore the clear injunction in Ephesians 6: 4 where we are told to not “exasperate” our children.
You see, the very term “discipline” means to “make disciples.” The role of a parent is to partner with God in the making of disciples who will in turn grow up and serve the Lord. In order to “launch” our kids out into the world with personal character stuffed with Godly principles, we must discipline our kids.
That discipline begins with clear instruction. Over and over again, we teach the principles of respect, obedience, moral training and so on. We impress upon our children right from wrong. We teach Biblical principles so they will have “markers” or “fences” throughout life to help guide their way. We train them to love and serve God.
But, most of our kids need reminders. They might know what is right in any given situation, but their nature is bent towards sin (just like ours!) and they may choose to do wrong. When that happens, we need to “nudge” them back on course. A “reproof” or rebuke might be necessary. For some children, it might only take a stern look. For others, a stern command. And still others (those wonderful strong willed darlings) may actually need a course correction that “hurts.” By that I mean, their rebellion “earns” them a loss of privilege, a time out or perhaps even a properly handled, appropriately given physical reminder.
At no time though, should that “rebuke” or consequence include humiliating them. They should feel the “sting” of a Godly correction, not the pain of severe punishment. The purpose of Godly discipline is course correction (whether it is being applied to a 5 year old or a 50 year old!), not devastation at the hand of an angry or irritated parent.
I doubt that anyone reading these words this week will be inclined to shave the head of their wayward daughter, but there are all kinds of ways we provoke our kids to wrath. Sarcasm run amok will do it. Caustic retorts will provoke anger in our kids. Humiliating tones of voices or off handed remarks will stimulate wrath in the minds of our children.
Good, Godly discipline takes time and energy. But it is so worth it. So, this week, let’s make a vow before the Lord that we will not “…exasperate our children, instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4)
Warmest Regards in Christ,
Sherry L. Worel
Stoneybrooke Christian Schools