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Summary: This is message 5 in a series of 5 on the family. This message focuses on the parents role in raising children in the Lord.

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Series: Desperate Households

Message: Desperate Parents

CenterPointe Christian Church – 12.11.05

Philip Yancey tells about an African safari he was on where he saw an old momma giraffe taking care of her offspring. Shortly after he was born, she went over & kicked her offspring, and it looked like she was really hurting her baby. Then she did it again.

Each time, the little giraffe would get up on his wobbly legs & try to walk. Still she continued kicking him. Finally, he got up pretty rapidly and ran away from her kicks.

Phil turned to his guide & asked, "Why does the mother giraffe do that?"

The guide answered, "The only defense the giraffe has is its ability to get up quickly and to out run its predator. If it can’t do that, it will soon die."

Yancey said that while it looked like it was a cruel thing, it was really the most loving thing the mother could do for her offspring.

Sometimes, discipline of our children is the same way.

It looks very cruel but it’s a thing we must do.

It was BILLY GRAHAM who said: “Children will invariably talk, eat, walk, think, respond, and act like their parents. Give them a target to shoot at. Give them a goal to work toward. Give them a pattern that they can see clearly, and you give them something that gold and silver cannot buy.”

We’ve been in this series called “Desperate Households” and dealing with family issues. The couple was married; we discussed the role of the husband and wife. Last week I focused on what children need from their parents: Relationship, Example and someone who will Share the Truth.

Today I want to go back to another child rearing issue. I believe we have a lot of “Desperate Parents” today because we get this issue all messed up. This issue of discipline is not easy, nor is it fun. It’s hard work.

Dorothy Law Nolte once wrote down these thoughts:

• If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.

• If a child lives with hostility, she learns to fight.

• If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.

• If a child lives with shame, she learns to feel guilty.

• If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.

• If a child lives with encouragement, she learns confidence.

• If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.

• If a child lives with fairness, she learns justice.

• If a child lives with security, He learns to have faith.

• If a child lives with approval, she learns to like himself.

• If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, He learns to find love in the world.

And may I add my own to her writing

• If a child lives without discipline, foolishness will be his way.

• If a child is disciplined, they will know love.

Parents we have an awesome PRIVILEGE…

For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life. Proverbs 6:23 (NIV)

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. Proverbs 13:24 (NIV)

A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but discipline will drive it away. Proverbs 22:15 (NLT)

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. 14 Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death. Proverbs 23:13-14 (NIV)

Every time you talk about discipline, questions arise, debates break out, and confusion reigns.

My first goal is this: I want to help you, not hammer you.

The second goal is this: I want to come alongside you, and not ever try to elevate myself above you because I am a fellow struggler. My wife and I have three children. I’m in the midst of this dilemma called discipline 24/7.

The third goal is this: I want to challenge you. I believe that parental potential is unlimited. I think it’s awesome what can occur if we get a handle on this subject matter.

So whether you’re a pre-parent, a single parent, a step-parent, grandparent, or any other kind of parent, I want to save you much struggle and pain by addressing this subject of discipline.

Let me ask you a question: Why do we discipline?

What’s the goal of discipline?

Is it my goal to raise the most . . .

• Intelligent child?

• Athletic child?

• Beautiful child?

• Well liked child?

No. The goal of discipline is simply this: to mold and to shape our children with their unique talents and abilities to reflect the nature of God. It’s to have children who mature and reflect the character of Jesus as shown in the bible.

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