One minute she’s volunteering to wash dishes; the next arguing with her little sister over who is sitting up front and who gets exiled to the back seat.
The best of friends this morning and the worst of enemies tonight.
There’s laughter and squabbles, acts of grace and crimes of selfishness.
Joyful obedience and sullen compliance.
Tender hearts and edgy pride.
Parenting, my friends, is not for the fainthearted. But we know that if we love our children, then for their sake we must be diligent in our parenting. (Which, if I’m being honest, can be exhausting and my stamina is sometimes not up to the task but usually because I maybe just might be exhibiting some of the above descriptions in my own heart…but that is a post for another day I think.)
I have long loved Hebrews 12:11 and taken much encouragement from it in relation to parenting,
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
The peaceful fruit of righteousness…what more could we want?
Recently I heard the dots of discipline and joy connected in a rather simple but thought provoking way. A father explains to his toddler that he is spanking her so that she will be happy. What? Spanking = happiness? Obviously, on the surface that doesn’t really connect but it makes perfect sense if viewed through the lens of Scripture. Disobedience brings painful discipline that will produce happiness. (Please don’t flood the comments section on a debate about corporal punishment…discipline does and should take many different forms. Swatting backsides in a loving manner to correct behavior is just an example of one method.)
My point is that from the very beginning we should be training our children to connect disobedience with consequences and discipline with joy and happiness. Why? Because good things come from obedience. In Leviticus 26 God says that He will walk with the one who is obedient. In the first chapter of Proverbs we’re told that there is safety in obedience and in Psalm one that the obedient will flourish.
The world will offer many claims as to what brings happiness but our children should be taught from as early as they can possibly understand that true happiness is only found in Christ.
My six year old sums it up this way:
Linking up with the Proverbs 31 Sanctuary.