Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Journey: Mothering and Discipline

Scripture meditation/memory for this week: In the fear of the LORD [she] has strong confidence and [her] children have a refuge. ~ Proverbs 14:26 (HCSB)

Last week I encouraged you to "read through the chapters in Proverbs and mark every verse that applies to motherhood and raising children. Record those verses that will counteract your impatience, your distractions, or your busyness that crowd out your ability to be the mom God intended you to be-a beacon of light as Christ is for you". So, did you try that? I took a pink pencil and have marked many verses...there is just so much. It would be easy to become discourage and note your failures but instead, I felt it light a fire under my drive to be more intentional as a mother for the sake of my children. These verses I marked screened discipline, our topic for this week.

As I was reading through the Proverbs, this verse really caught my attention on this day:
Discipline your children, for in that there is hope;
do not be a willing party to their death. ~ Proverbs 19:18

Here's the tough question of the day...on a scale on 1-10, one representing "poor" and ten representing "perfect", how would you rate your disciplining skills with your children? I found it to be a much easier task when they were young but have had difficultly as a parent of teenagers. That verse above grabbed my heart as I read that last part "do not be a part to their death". Lack of disciple on my part leads to their demise?

I feel the writer is not referencing a physical death, though poor choices left unattended can lead to that, but instead, I feel the writer is referencing a "soul death"...a spiritual death. No doubt raising our children to love God, to want Him in their life is our greatest responsibility and maybe our greatest challenge. I so do not want that to be said of me as a mother that I was a "willing party to their death"! Read it in the New living translation:

Discipline your children while there is hope.
Otherwise you will ruin their lives. ~ Proverbs 19:18 (NLT)

There are a lot of stories out there of children who have failed in society and that failure being traced down to the parent. The result of a parents sins on their offspring is very real but you and I know that the mercy, grace, and forgiveness of God can change those generational effects. Si right now in this moment, lets instead address the "while there is hope...", the fact that there can be healing, there can be a change.

When is there hope? What is the time frame for that hope?
What if I have failed to be inconsistent in my discipline...can there still be hope?

Don’t fail to discipline your children.
They won’t die if you spank them.
Physical discipline
may well save them from death.
~ Prov 23:13-14 (NLT)

Discipline consist of training and teaching. It doesn't have to be a painful experience. It should results in growth or change. I have this wonderful book written over 100 years ago by H. Clay Trumbull "Hints on Child Training". Every new parent should read this before having kids. I wish I had it during that period of my life. Here are some of his words on training a child:

"It has been said that the essence of teaching is causing another to know. It may similarly be said that the essence of training is causing another to do. Teaching gives knowledge. Training gives skill. Teaching fills the mind. Training shapes the habits. Teaching brings to the child what he did not have before. Training enables a child to make use of that which is already his possession. We teach a child the meaning of words. We train a child in speaking and walking. We teach him the truths we have learned for ourselves. We train him in the habits of study, that he may be able to learn other truths for himself. Training and teaching must go together in the wise upbringing of any and every child. The one will fail of its own best end if it be not accompanied by the other." (pp 1-2)

Disciplining a child is hard and sometimes it hurts us more than they know or understand at that moment but it also speaks of our love. Discipline requires being consistent and that is where I have personally fallen short. Now that our house is full of teenagers, hormones, and attitudes, it makes it even tougher. Telling my 13 year old she can't go to that friends birthday party because she has a "D" on her midterm report really saddens me. I want her to be a part of that group but her grades are priority. Making one of our girls stay in for the weekend after she lied and made a poor choice, not so painful because I know we are protecting her.

If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself;
but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding. ~ Proverbs 15:32 (NLT)

Discipline is an act or establishment of lifestyle. It is a habit we have to teach and train our children to. We discipline a child when they do wrong, but we also teach our children to be disciplined in an action which leads to some form of success. The disciplined athlete produces more points for his team=success. The disciplined student in his study is rewarded with scholarships=success. The disciplined child at home who performs her chores is rewarded with an allowance=success.

"Discipline helps children live up to their fill potential, their gifts, and their capabilities. It gives them a sense of confidence as they move into the future. Dreams more frequently come true for children who see that discipline consistently pays off." ~ Tim Kimmel, Raising Kids Who Turn Out right

Our children are growing up in the me-generation and having studied this, there is a lot they are capable of doing but only if discipline is incorporated. We fail our children if we do not stand up to the "its all about me" mind-set. They have to be able to set an alarm clock, to be on time, to complete a task, and to complete their homework as scheduled. Nothing irritates me more then when I hear one of our girls teacher stating they have a 5-day late rule before points are deducted!! Seriously?? We have to teach and train and discipline our children in order for them to survive in this world we live in.

Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust in the Lord will be joyful. ~ Proverbs 16:20 (NLT)

I think too often I have allowed my own failures to get in the way of my mothering. I have to admit I have allowed the lies of satan to pull me back from actions that would have benefited our girls. Satan is good at pointing out our mistakes and making us feel completely inadequate as a mother. Allowing attitudes, inappropriate tones or words, or wrong actions to slip by without acknowledgment has only hurt them. Maybe that is why God has laid it on my heart to do better for the "while there is hope" is suddenly very short. We need to make it our aim as a mother to implant this verse into their mind and heart:

Take hold of my instructions, don't let them go. Guard them, for them for they are the key to life. ~ Proverbs 4:13 (NLT)

As we continue on this Proverbs 31 Journey, I encourage you to continue to study Proverbs this month solely for the purposes of identify God's instructions related to discipline, training, and teaching. Make a chart with three columns. In the first column record the verse you have found. In the second column record the positive results these actions (discipline, teaching, training) produce. In the third column record the opposite result, the negative outcome that result when you do not have these actions. Then all week long, pray that God will open your eyes to those teachable moments and that you would have the ability to discipline, train, and teach in love..."while there is hope".

Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.
Those who love their children care enough to discipline them. ~ Proverbs 13:24 (NLT)

Discipline no matter how you look at it is hard but discipline is love. Drawing from our mediation verse above, the Proverbs 31 Woman is one who fears the Lord which enables her to be a woman of discipline. Her fear of her Lord gives her the confidence she needs to live a disciplined life and she models this to her children. She knows how to train her children well. Because of this, they can find refuge in her and she will lead them to God. My prayer for us is that we will be more intentional in discipline.

My son, obey your father’s commands,
and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
Keep their words always in your heart.
Tie them around your neck.
When you walk, their counsel will lead you.
When you sleep, they will protect you.
When you wake up, they will advise you.
For their command is a lamp
and their instruction a light;
their corrective discipline
is the way to life. ~ Proverbs 6: 20-23

Believing Him~ Pamela

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The past is the past. Do not let Satan bring up a forgiven and forgotten past. God has forgiven and forgotten. Do not let Satan thoughts on the past rest even a minute. Take him to the cross & say see. love ya Mom