Discipline helps us grow and is not a punishment

A key to living a life of wisdom is accepting all the ways we can grow.  We must allow for correction, or we will continue to make mistakes.  Thus, discipline helps us improve and should be given and received with a loving attitude.

Proverbs 3:11-12: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”

Discipline is Not About Punishment

The wise understand that we correct others to make them better, not to punish them.  This focus is not always easy to remember and keep as our focus.  When we are hurt or angry, it is part of our nature to try to make others feel those same emotions.   Misery truly likes company in that sense.  Unfortunately, the improper application of discipline can confuse the message.  We do not learn about being better.  On the contrary, we learn that mistakes bring painful consequences.

When this happens often enough, we even shrink from criticism.  Correction of any form becomes linked to pain and discomfort in our mind.  Thus, this Proverb has two sides for us to learn from.  There is the side of the disciplinarian that should keep a proper focus.  On the other hand, the learner should expect discipline to be done with love and not revenge.

Take a Deep Breath

If there is a number one rule for gaining wisdom, it appears to be that patience should lead every action.  Once again in our stroll through the Proverbs, we see that taking a moment to collect ourselves is important.  Thus, the disciplinarian needs to collect their thoughts and emotions before acting.  Likewise, the learner needs to consider the goal of the action and not strike back as if attacked.

Teaching Children this Wisdom

The intent is a key part of so much of our communication.  Thus, be clear in your intent when laying down discipline.  For example, many parents find that following difficult or painful discipline with a long talk helps.  After the discomfort has passed the parties can discuss the disciplinary action and how that can help one grow.

A good way to lead a child to the truth of discipline is to provide painless examples.  Dental hygiene is a good place to start.  You do not ask children to brush their teeth regularly as a punishment.  The goal is to help them avoid painful cavities and embarrassing dental problems.  This discipline of daily brushing of teeth is done in love, nothing less.  Drive home the goal of this act of discipline and then use it as a basis for more difficult actions.  For example, if you restrict TV watching during school nights the goal is not pain, but instead reducing distractions from homework.  Always add an explanation for disciplinary actions so you children are clear on the goal and your attitude towards them.

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