Pastor in the Pasture – Discipline: Four ideas to help
It would be late, after a long hard day of work. It didn’t matter what kind of job he was doing at the time. It could be ranching, running meat packing plants or a water well service business. It might have been a late night of prepping lambs for the county or major livestock shows. There were even a few little league baseball games that went into extra innings.
It would be time for everyone to be in bed. He would tell us to hush up and go to sleep. Of course with five boys that between the ages of 5 and 16 it was a losing bedtime battle. When things got bad enough, we heard his size 11 boots coming down the hall and, when things were really serious, the unmistakable sound of a belt being pulled through belt loops on Levis. When that sound was heard we knew that it was serious business. There wouldn’t be another warning. We were busted.
There’s nothing quite like the love of a father that knows discipline and how to exercise it correctly. The result is a level of respect and honor extending well into adulthood. The added bonus is seen when the same principles are applied on your grandchildren. I was blessed with that kind of discipline. It was applied correctly and not spared. Do all kids correctly disciplined grow into adults that are productive and continue in the ways taught to them? No… Were there mistakes in our home growing up? Of course there were some mistakes, but the bigger mistake would have been not to discipline at all. God’s word is clear on parents disciplining their children. Here are just a few from the book of Proverbs:
- ‘He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.’ (Proverbs 13:24 NASB)
- ‘The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul.’ (Proverbs 29:15,17 NASB)
Here are a four of many things that you can do to help in disciplining your children as you seek to do so according to God’s word:
- Consistency – be consistent in your discipline. Don’t apply it one way one time and a different way the next time…especially when it comes to the same infractions. Also, be consistent in your expectations of your children. If they’re not clear on what is expected of them…then how do you expect them to live up to what you require?… and this consistency will lead to the next one…
- First time obedience – if little Johnny is clear on the fact that he has to feed the dogs, bottle calf, and the chickens…you have let him know this and he has repeated that back to you to affirm he understands what is required…then if it doesn’t get it done it’s on little Johnny’s shoulders. He’s the one responsible and thereby has to face the consequences of discipline. This can eliminate the guilty feelings after applying discipline because you let him know, he understood, and it’s on him…he’s the one that chose not to obey. Our “rod” was a wooden spoon with one slight swat. Our two sons were about 6 and 4 when we started applying some of these principles. Other things, such as loss of privileges or extra chores for older children are appropriate. Discuss the criteria and come to an agreement as a couple beforehand. This will show the children you’re both in support of applying discipline in a loving way according to God’s word.
- Think of others – informing children that the world doesn’t revolve around them is healthy. There are other folks that we can help, serve, respect, and honor. That includes other family members, elders, friends and church family. When explained in the sense that a child wouldn’t want a sibling to tear up their toys or room, likewise the child being spoken to doesn’t need to tear up other’s property or living area. A respect and level of value that God places upon all people is the truth being learned.
- Respect for Dad and Mom as a couple and the “A” team
- Let dad and mom have time together – mom and dad need time together to talk, visit, and connect at a set scheduled time of the day. Again, applying the “think of others” concept is useful to help kids understand this time for mom and dad. Children can learn to respect this time and not interrupt by setting an actual timer they can hear. This will signal when they can come back together with mom and dad.
- If you pit one parent against the other…that’s grounds for an automatic “whipping.” If you’ve asked dad and the answer is “No,” and you then ask mom…that is clear disobedience. Dad and mom don’t waiver on this. If the children see you as united and committed to each other, then it will stop after a few times.
My encouragement is to put these things into practice and be consistent in them. This discipline will affect other areas of life such as school, church, and in the community. Discipline is a way to support training and education. Applying these principles will ensure the correct foundation for generations to come.
I’m praying for you and your family as you train up your children in the discipline of the Lord.
I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!