Care Enough to Correct
"My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth." Proverbs 3:11, 12
Motivating our sons and daughters to pursue a path of godliness isn’t always easy. It takes courage to stay the course and to stand our ground without losing heart. As God’s agents of change, parents must have love and the power of the Holy Spirit in order to be successful.
Seven Insights on Correction:
1. Correction is Making Children Aware of Their Mistakes and Showing Them the Right Way
“My son, despise not...his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth...” (Proverbs 3:11,12).
When we as parents care, we will correct. When you go to a good doctor and you have a broken arm, he sets it. He “corrects” it. If you go to a concerned optometrist, he will give you “corrective” lenses. There is a correct way and a wrong way. There is a healthy way and an unhealthy way. There is a foolish way and then there is God’s way. When we care enough, we correct, and when we show care, we lead. Lead, and your family will follow.
Most parents have been advised to be careful that they don’t break the spirit of the child. This is true, but I submit to you that we don’t make negative children because we say negative things. In fact, the Bible itself is full of negative things. To be sure, God gives many positive promises, but He always gives the truth and if the truth is negative, then so be it. We don’t raise negative children because we say negative things, we raise negative children because we allow selfishness! This is what causes a person to be unhappy.
We used to sing a children’s chorus entitled J-O-Y. How do we have JOY? We put J-Jesus first, O-Others second and Y-Yourself last. Joy doesn’t come from always getting your own way. As parents, when we point out misbehavior or rude manners, we are actually helping children put God and others before themselves. Through calm reasoning, reasonable consequences and actually demonstrating how to do what is correct, we bring joy into their lives, and not a broken spirit.
The main thing about providing loving correction is to do so when your own spirit is under the Holy Spirit’s control. When parents lose control, that’s when correction takes the wrong course. The tone and manner that a parent says things is of utmost importance. We can say just about anything if we will do so in a tone that is gentle.
There are many voices today that tell us there is no right or wrong. This, my friend, is simply not true. Right is still right and that which we must teach our children. I do believe, however, morality must be based on good reasoning. It shouldn’t come from a bunch of old wives tales or outdated customs. Nonetheless, anything that needs to be corrected, whether it’s something illegal, immoral, unethical, or unbiblical should be calmly and gently shared with your family.
I have always been a firm believer in talking to your children about what is going on as much as possible, and keeping them in the “moral loop” so to speak; not just telling them what not to do, but also telling them the why not. For example, we might say, “I don’t want you to go outside.” It might be better to rephrase it, “I don’t want you to go outside because I am going to be taking a nap.” Or, “because, I want you to be safe.” To be sure, children don’t deserve an explanation, but I think it’s wise. Regardless, correction should be done because we love them and care about them.
2. Correction is Not Particularly Pleasant to the Child or the Parent
“My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction:” (Proverbs 3:11).
Correction is not something any human likes. It is a process we naturally despise and get weary of. When a one-year-old finds out that they can’t get their way, they don’t like it. I’ve also found that a 15-year-old doesn’t like being told they can’t have their way either. The same is true if you’re 25, 55, or 75! Nobody likes correction. So how can we grow in grace if we don’t know what needs to be corrected? We are growing in sanctification when we can appreciate the help of someone sharing with us an area that needs to be corrected.
I believe we modern parents must free ourselves from the myth that growing up is about having as much fun as possible. I firmly believe that we should enjoy life. Paul told Timothy that Christians should, “richly enjoy all things” (1 Timothy 6:17). But richly enjoying all things is not just about having fun. God is more concerned that our children be holy than externally happy. In fact, everyone in the end has a better time when children are thoughtful and not rude.
People in the world say often that it is hard on a child when you correct them. Well, there’s a good solution to that situation: if they choose to do right then correction would be unnecessary! It really is just as hard on the parent to do the disciplining as for the child to be disciplined. Parents get tired. Correction takes time and can mess up a mom and dad’s schedule. It takes energy they don’t have. It also takes confrontation; which most people I know (myself included), naturally run from. It also takes the parents admitting that their child has done something wrong, and for most parents, that gets down to the core of who they are. But we make a mistake when we think to ourselves, “If my kids do wrong, it’s because I’m a bad parent.” We don’t like to correct because it brings up our own insufficiencies.
Correction is time consuming. When you have one child that you are correcting once every hour for 12 hours, that is not too hard. If you have two children, then that’s twenty-four times a day! If you have nine children like I have, you are basically spending your entire day in confrontation! Sidenote: I think we should look around, pray and show compassion on parents…theirs is not an easy job!
3. Correction is a Fatherly Role
“For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father...” (Proverbs 3:12).
The mother, principal, teacher, grandparent, even babysitter all have vital roles as enforcers of family rules. Chaos is going to occur if there is not a solid and united front displayed by this group in discipline. However, in the end, it is the dad that is the Commanding Officer! Dads are captains of the ship and must have a vision for the family. A vision for your family is really just a schedule for right living. Do you have a vision? If you don’t have a schedule for your son or your daughter, then your vision is limited. It needs to go something like this, “Ok, son or daughter you are going to get up at this time, you are going to read your Bible and then, etc.” The schedules we set for our sons and daughters should be daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.
The dad takes the primary role and responsibility in correction. If a dad doesn’t correct, dysfunction and reaction will likely take place. Dads are hard wired by God for conflict resolution. Unfortunately, in today’s world, the average dad has been made into the play guy and the mom runs the family. Certainly, a dad ought to be fun. Recreation is a wonderful and needful diversion, but time spent playing is only meant so we can serve God better. It is not to be an end, it is meant only to be a means to an end. I know for me growing up, if my dad said something, I listened attentively. When my mom said something, I just sort of listened. Not that it was right on my part, but I think it illustrates the natural tendency we have to follow the man.
There should be an age sensitive ratio of a dad’s playtime and training time. When our sons and daughters are one-year-olds, then perhaps 90% of their time could be spent playing and 10 % (or less) is spent in training. Each year of age the amount of “dad time” spent playing decreases, and by the time they are twelve years old a dad’s time with the child ought to be largely spent in training. Until finally, they come to a point where dads and children work together because it’s fun!
4. Correction is a Long Process
“...neither be weary of his correction” (Proverbs 3:11).
Correction is not only hard it is often a long process. Solomon counseled, “Don’t get weary.” It may seem endless to the child making them ask, “Why am I always being told what to do?” When they become young adults at 14 or 15, they start looking towards the day when they get to be on their own because they “Won’t be told what to do anymore,” (yeah, right). That’s ok and very natural. Correction is just as wearisome for the parent. Parental fatigue is a real issue, especially if you have several children. Parents are caregivers, teachers and motivators, but when fatigue hits; it makes the mind see things negatively. We parents get tired, and when we are tired we don’t like to take the time to discipline. When we’re tired, we don’t like to take the time to teach. We need the grace of God brothers and sisters. We need the strength of God. Parents need prayer!
We need to train for parenting like an olympic athlete! Parents can’t have lives that are unscheduled. Moms and dads need to get plenty of rest, exercise and eat balanced diets. They need to get up early and read the Bible so they have a word in their hearts. Avoid staying up too late working or vegging. Play some Christ-honoring music in your home. You can’t have wild music going all the time and expect that children are going to be calm. Correction is something that is wearisome, so expect it to be, but know it will pay off in the future.
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