At the beginning of the year, my dad gave his church a challenge to go through the book of Proverbs (one chapter a week) and create their own commentary on what the Bible has to say regarding the family and the separate responsibilities of each relationship of Father, Mother, Parents, Child, and Siblings. Well, needless to say I started the challenge and did great the first week. I think we are now eight weeks into the year, and today I started chapter three.
This morning I woke up to feed Andy at 5:00, at 5:30 I began to head back to bed and realized that since my alarm was going off at 6:00 anyways, I should get up get ready, and spend some extra time with the Lord -- Thank you Lord for putting the thought into my head!
Anyways, I fixed myself a cup of coffee and sat down to read my Bible, and decided I needed to get back into the Proverbs project. Turning to Proverbs chapter 3, I read the following verses
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.
Now, I know these verses are probably written to an older child in which case, the father is the primary disciplinarian (or at least he should be). However, I began thinking about these verses in relation to my role as the primary caregiver of a preschooler and toddler. How am I to be disciplining Kara and Lydia? Well, the answer at least is obvious -- In Love. Of course I love them, so when I discipline I do discipline in love. Well, the more I thought about this concept, and the more I reflected on the times I discipline, I began to realize I don't always discipline in love. As much as I hate to say it, sometimes it is very easy to correct my children out of a heart of frustration. Kara spends much of her day crying about hurting herself or whining to get this or that. About halfway through the day I am frustrated and tired of listening to it -- therefore, I need to hold myself in check as to my own attitude in correcting her. I know it's also easy to correct them in Anger. Lydia and Kara are both very curious and they want to explore and play. They know the rules, but sometimes the temptation is too great and they give in (probably more often then necessary -- but they are only 1 and 2). It would be very easy for me to get angry with them and punish -- but I need to check myself and ask "Am I disciplining out of anger, or because I love them and want them to be conformed to the image of God?"
Here is my conclusion on this verse:
While this verse deals with a father correcting his son in love, for mothers who are the primary caregivers of preschool children in the early stages of correction, we also need to note this verse. Correction/chastisement/rebuke/discipline is to be done in a heart of love for the child. Therefore, we are not to act in anger, frustration, or even as a response to a difficult and tiring day. If we are correcting for any reason than love and a desire to see our children conformed to the image of Christ -- Don't Do It.