Each stage of parenthood presents new challenges. Parenting's initial whirlwind begins with an infant's cry and carries through all the way till...well, I'm not sure when you feel your child isn't your baby. My son becomes an "adult" today by the measurement of society, and at this point I sit and look back to see what building blocks we have provided him with in the structure of his life. Did I teach him to love the Lord with all of his heart? Or did I train him to do so by doing it myself? Did I teach him to live by the Word? Or did I train him to do so by showing him how it all applies to him?
I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling like I could have done more to raise my son in the admonition of the Lord. But what is on my heart to truly ponder this morning is the discipline that seems to be lacking in a lot of parent/child relationships today. Many parents don't want to cause any type of hurt to the child with discipline, so the child grows up with no boundaries and no respect for authority. If only the parent could see that this hurt goes far deeper than correction ever could have.
"He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly."
I didn't enjoy placing boundaries around my child at the time, but I thank God he grew up knowing not to cross them. "This hurts me more than it hurts you" is a phrase that became real to me as I became a mother who wanted to raise a little boy into a godly man. Correction hurts - both ways. But the lack of it is selfishness on the part of the parent.
The Lord disciplines those He loves. His rod and His staff comfort us. There is comfort in the boundaries of authority. I urge each parent and parent-to-be today to consider the long-term love for your children. Train them in the way they should go...because withholding it is just hoping they land on the right path one day. They need you.
Father, You are a good Father who disciplines and trains me constantly. It doesn't feel good at the time, but I know that it is for my good for eternity. Help us to love our children correctly and to correct our children in love. In Jesus' Name. Amen.