“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him” (Proverbs 13:24).
There is a man whom I know well. He used to work for me. He is a very stubborn man who does not like to follow directions. His wife left him and his daughters do not love him. This man cannot get along with anyone.
Recently someone told me that when this man was young he was his mother’s favorite. He was spoiled. She never rebuked or disciplined him. Now he is a lonely and unhappy man.
Discipline does not always mean punishment. The word discipline means control and instruction. A good parent teaches a child how to exercise self-control and how to treat other people.
Even though it is hard to disappoint our children by not giving them what they want, and even though it is difficult to correct them, we must discipline ourselves to do just that.
Things that are funny or cute when a child is small become serious character defects as he or she grows older. Nothing is funny about a man who screams at his wife.
Do you know when that man learned to scream? When he was a boy. He was never taught how to control himself.
A little girl who is jealous of her siblings may be amusing. A grown woman who does not trust her husband is vicious. Do you know when she learned to be envious and distrustful? When she was a child.
Children are not toys. They are young human beings whose characters you are responsible to form. Be careful not to program defects into your children by not being a good disciplinarian.
Remember, discipline is molding character—not brutal punishment.
Kimberly Snider is a missionary to the Philippines.
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Copyright (c) 2003 Women’s Ministries of the Assemblies of God.