Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Train up a child in the way he should go..."

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"Drew! Drew, where are you?"  
Drew snickered quietly.  His little five-year-old body was wedged underneath his bed, hidden by the mess which was littered all around him.
"Drew!"  His mother's voice became more austere.  "Come to me this instant.  You'll be in big trouble if you don't come right now."
Footsteps sounded in the hallway and entered his bedroom.  "Look at this mess!"  She kicked a ball out of her way.  "Drew, come out now."  The command in her voice almost made him give in.  No.  He shook his head defiantly, almost bumping against the wall.

Achoo!   Drew clamped his hand over his mouth, eyes wide and frightened.  His mother's face appeared.
"You're in big trouble, young man."
Drew slowly crawled out from underneath the bed.  His eyes were downcast and his body slumped.
"Why didn't you come when I called?"
Drew gulped.  "Because I didn't want to,"  he whispered, tears gathering in his eyes.  His guilty conscience told him he had done wrong.
"Okay son, you know what to do."
Drew nodded glumly.  He walked into the living room and found the wooden spoon.  He eyed his enemy warily.  If only he could show it how much pain it inflicted!  Oh, he'd show it good!
He plodded back to his room and handed his mother the spoon.  He bent over, resolutely.
"Drew,"  his mother's voice was gentle.  "You knew the punishment if you disobeyed."
One. Two. Three. Four.

Drew winced as the tears fell down his cheeks.  He turned and looked into his mother's loving eyes.
"Next time, come immediately when I call, understand?  Remember what the Bible says, 'Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.'"
Drew nodded as he wiped the tears from his eyes.  He hesitated and bit his lip.  Suddenly, he threw his arms around his mother.  "I'm sorry, Mommy!"
His mother held him tightly.  "I love you, Son, that is why I must punish you.  The Bible commands parents to do so.  One day you will understand."
Drew buried his face in her neck.  "I love you too, Mommy! he whispered.
                                                                   ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 "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

Raising children can be tedious, I'm sure.  However, as I have yet to experience it myself, I cannot properly say.  I do come from a family of eight children, so I've experienced the opposite.

All I know is from my parents' example and what I've read in the Bible.  I know that "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." (Proverbs 13:25)

The Word of God tells us plainly:  "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying."  ~Proverbs 19:18

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  ~Proverbs 22:6

"Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."  ~Proverbs 23:13,14

Not to make a mistake here.  This does not give parents the right to continually beat their children on a daily basis.  Punishment for disobedience and sin is one thing; continued beatings just because the parent may be a bully is another.  A true parent is someone who has the best interest of their children at heart, like God does with His children.  Punishment is necessary for correction, not to satisfy a parent's anger.  Love is to rule over all. (1 Corinthians 13)

There are three extremes: those that rule in anger and force, those that rule in love and correction, and those that rule in indulgence.  Those who rule in anger take punishment to the extreme, acting as if their children were a curse.  Those who rule in love follow the Bible's commands to train up a child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

But then there are those who rule in indulgence.  They don't believe in "corporal punishment."  The very idea of whipping a child horrifies them.  The very idea!  Therefore their children are wild, ungrateful brats (literally) who know how to get their own selfish way.  Their parents then sit back and wonder "what else can we do? We've given them all they want, we've never used the rod, what else can we do?" (what about giving them a sound thrashing?)  They even come to admit that their children are devil terrors.  Parents are to be firm, yet loving, but they most assuredly are not to leave their children on their own.

If parents knew how to control their kids, if they would only follow the Bible's wisdom, the home could once again become a state of self-control, not wild and rambunctious.

"The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."  ~ Proverbs 29:15
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Drew grew up to be a fine young man.  True, wen he was young, he had to be punished.  But that strengthened his character.  He determined in his heart to one day teach his own children the same biblical teachings his parents taught him.

Then came that day when his own son was seemingly nowhere to be found.   "I wonder...."
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