Guest Post – The Honor of Child Rearing Part 1

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The following is a guest post from Alan Smith who is among  other things, Assistant Missions Pastor and leader of the Single Parent’s Family Ministry at Springhouse Worship and Arts Center in Smyrna. Be sure to read more about him below and visit his Coffee Cup Ministries website here.

One of the most difficult things for me in parenting was the idea of punishment/discipline. The “how” of correcting inappropriate behavior in my children.

Time Out?

I was raised in a culture/era where if the child was acting up or showing off, parents grabbed a belt, strap, yardstick or whatever was handy or within reach and just wear ’em out!  There was no such thing as “Time Out” or I would have been in a continual STATE of Time Out!! LOL.

Now, for better or worse, I “think” I turned out ok. I mean I definitely have a sense of respect and manners that I see lacking in a lot of the children in today’s society. BUT, I have seen some folks in today’s culture who seem to be doing a great job in trying to find the balance of verbal instruction and discipline along with corporal discipline as needed.

I think to be an effective parent we need to have a good understanding between ‘discipline’ and ‘punishment’.

A BIG Difference!

My poor son had to be the guinea pig of mine and Renee’s parenting 101 as we, like most new parents had to learn this on the fly. We didn’t have a lot of good parenting skills already acquired and we also didn’t have many experienced mentors who had walked the road before us to impart to us (Biblical based) ideas and suggestions to “teach” us how to mold our approach based on what God said in His Word.

I’m sure we’ve all heard the scriptures throughout Psalms and Proverbs on ‘spare the rod’:

  • Proverbs 13:24 – “train up a child”
  • Proverbs 22:6 – “if you strike him with a rod he shall not die’
  • Proverbs 23:13 – “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him”
  • Proverbs 22:15 and many others

But there is a BIG difference between punishment and discipline.

We’re On The Same Team

Parenting is NOT an US vs THEM relationship.  We are on the SAME Team!

Check out these definitions and see which seems more appropriate in the child rearing HONOR we have been given by the Lord:

DISCIPLINE

verb (used with object), disciplined, disciplining.

  1. To train by instruction and exercise; drill
  2. To bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control
  3. To penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.noun
  4. Training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
  5. Activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training:
  6. The rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.:
  7. Behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control:

PUNISHMENT

  1. The act of punishing.
  2. The fact of being punished, as for an offense or fault.
  3. Apenalty inflicted for an offense, fault, etc.
  4. Severe handling or treatment.

Sadly, I made many mistakes in the learning process and punished when I should have been disciplining.

In next week’s continuation of this blog post, I’ll talk about how I learned how to overcome those challenges and share Scriptures that have been key in that process.

Until then, I’ll leave you with this prayer:  “May the Lord of peace guide you in all your ways as you seek to raise Godly young men and women who will follow hard after Him and bring Him honor and according to Proverbs 29:17.

*all scriptures are from the ESV

About the Author

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Most days, you can find Alan Smith at Wherry Housing in Smyrna, TN. where he shows the love of Christ through acts of service as a partner with Community Servants. He is an ordained Pastor transitioning to full-time missions at home and abroad. He lives in Smyrna, TN with his wife Renee and their two children Jeremy and Chelsey where he gets to serve God and others every day!

Learn more about his Coffee Cup Ministry here.

photo credit: Andy M Taylor via photopin cc

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