Summary: #3 in a six week series on marriage and parenting. This message discusses the Biblical concept of instructing and correcting your child.
Home Improvement - Week 3
"THE WALLS: DISCIPLINING YOUR CHILD"
A loaded mini-van pulled up to the only remaining campsite. Four youngsters leaped from the vehicle & feverishly began unloading the gear and setting up the tent. The boys rushed off to gather firewood while the girls along with their mother began to set up the camp stove and cooking utensils. A nearby camper watched and marveled to the children’s father: "Sir, that is the greatest display of teamwork I have ever seen. How do you run such a disciplined family?" The father said, "Well, it really works on only 1 basic principle. Nobody gets to go to the bathroom until the camp is set up!"
We have become un-accustomed to seeing well-disciplined children. We’re more familiar with irresponsibility, rudeness, out right defiance. For the past 3 decades we have sown the seeds of permissiveness and now we are reaping a tragic harvest. 1.3 million young people have drinking problems in this country. 5,000 teenagers commit suicide every year- 10,000 more attempt it. Sexual activity amongst pre-teens has more than tripled in the last decade. Every day 200 school teachers are assaulted physically by students in the classroom in this country and such places as Paducah, KY, Jonesboro, AK and Columbine in Littleton, CO. are forever etched in our minds and nation’s history. No wonder Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family says, "Permissiveness has not been a failure in this country - it has been a disaster."
So, as we continue our Home Improvement series, we need to deal with, from a Biblical perspective, the subject of disciplining our children. All children need the freedom that blessing them brings but they also need walls or boundaries so that they don’t wander needlessly into hurtful situations.
Now, some of what I have to say today you may disagree with. Maybe, that’s because I’m wrong. I am no expert in parenting. I look back at over a quarter of a century that I’ve been a parent and I can easily see where I’ve made mistakes. But before you disregard this teaching as just "preacher talk", will you evaluate 2 things? (1) Will you evaluate the Scripture with me objectively? I believe with all my heart that our success as parents has a much better chance if we consult the Creator and His Words than if we depend on the vacillating philosophy of this age. (2) As much as is possible, will you evaluate your children’s behavior honestly? If they are always well behaved then stay the course. But if your children aren’t listening to you very well or others that deal with your child have to tell you of unacceptable behavior, like a mouth out of control or selfishness, maybe it’s time to change your strategy of discipline. I just want to discuss 2 things today: (1) Parental authority and (2) Parental discipline.
I. PARENTAL AUTHORITY:
Parents, God has set up the home in such a way where you are to have the authority over your children during the growing years. In fact, God has commanded that parents have authority over their children. Eph. 6:1 & Col. 3:20 make it clear that children are to submit to parental authority by being obedient.
Col. 3:20 - “Children, always obey your parents. This is pleasing to the Lord.”(GW)
Eph. 6:1-2 gives a little fuller treatment. “Children, obey your parents; this is the right thing to do because God has placed them in authority over you. Honor your father and mother. This is the first of God’s Ten Commandments that ends with a promise...” Those two words obey & honor describes a child’s role in the family.
Their action is obedience. You see, it is not our goal to get our children to obey because we are bigger than they or because we can intimidate them. They are to obey because as adults we know what is best for them. Proverbs 28:7-“Children who obey what they have been taught are smart and stay far from trouble...”(NCV)
But we not only are to teach them the action of obedience but we are also to teach them to honor, an attitude of respect. One of the reasons God has delegated authority to parents is so that children will learn respect for those who have authority over them in life and most importantly will respect the authority of God. If they do not learn respect from the parents where will they learn it? A children’s church teacher came to me several years ago and told me that one of my children sassed them. I thanked them for telling me and said that although I was disappointed to hear that- I would take care of it. This teacher apparently heard my tone and maybe fearing for my child’s well-being said, "Well, maybe I didn’t handle the situation very well." I said to them & to my child- "It makes no difference whether or not you handled the situation correctly. If you as the teacher tell my child to do something they are to respect your authority as the teacher whether they like the way you told them or not. Their obedience is not based on your actions but on their attitude of respect for authority." Parents, teaching respect for authority is critical for your child’s future. If they don’t learn to respect us then what will they do to teachers, employers, police officer’s or most importantly, God?