Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death – Proverbs 19:18
The final, and smallest element to the parenting framework which flows out of delighting in and disciplining your children is discipline. Proper, loving discipline of children produces a heart of humility and teachability. This devotional entry from Tim Keller* shows the importance of discipline in parenting:
The word discipline means to punish. While the primary goal of parents is to teach what is right (disciple) in an environment of love and delight (delight), one of the main ways to do that is to establish both boundaries and consistent consequences for trespassing those boundaries for your children. Why?
There is a design in the world, and to go against it brings natural consequences into the children’s lives, they will go out into the world and bring far more painful and harmful results onto themselves later. Inflicting minor sadness now avoids great despair later. If you do that when they are young there is hope that the child will internalize your training and learn self-control. If you don’t, you are a willing party to their death. Strong words, but fair. God’s parenting is perfect, and he disciplines us for our good. He knows we hate the consequences he brings into our lives now, but they will bear enormous fruit (Hebrews 12:9-11).
What families have you seen do this well? What can you learn from them most?
*From God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life (A Year of Daily Devotions in the Book of Proverbs)