Summary: Sermon Series by Dr. Tim Pollock on Parenting
It is one of the deep passions of my life to do all I humanly can, to raise a generation of sold-out-for-God, Bible-loving children and youth. Discipline is vital part of training champions for God. George Washington in a letter to the Virginia Regiment said, “Discipline is the soul of an army; it makes small numbers formidable; it procures success to the weak and esteem to all.” In other words, a small army that’s disciplined can achieve great exploits beyond its number. Helen Keller said, “One painful duty fulfilled makes the next plainer and easier.” When you nip things in the bud and get things done quickly and in efficient order, you help your family move on to the next stage.
What really defines discipline and why is it so important? Discipline helps us operate by principle, say no to our impulses, and stay in control of our appetites rather than vice versa. Discipline allows truth to rule in our life. At it’s best; discipline is a form of teaching inner controls. We get our word “disciple” from the word discipline. A disciple is really just a fully committed follower of Christ that maintains godly disciplines. If you are going to instill godly discipline in the life of your child, it’s important to start early. Setting boundaries early on helps everyone.
The word “chasten” doesn’t especially mean spanking. It certainly could include that. What it really means is to “admonish.” Chasten also means to instruct. In this verse, God cautions about becoming a doting, wishy-washy parent. If you are going to be a wise parent, then it is more than just punishing and making sure you lay down the law. Truly wise parenting is caring enough to provide good, clear instruction, and then following through to make sure they follow it, and, that they do so all the way to the end. It’s just a fact of life that some children need more strictness than others, but every child needs firm direction. Some children will move into a self-governing, young adult mind quicker than others, but all need firm direction as they go through life. Families flourish with someone at the helm that is giving their family direction.
Sometimes, this direction is going to take the form of very rigorous guidance. I always get a kick out of book titles like, “Training the Strong-Willed Child.” Are you kidding me? Every child is strong willed! Every one of us are self willed, which is exactly why we need to be saved. God said in Ephesians 2 that all humans are, “children of disobedience.” It is true that some hide it more than others. Some children are more deceptive about self-will than others. In fact, my experience with people has been, sometimes those that are the quietest are actually the strongest willed! They come across all syrupy and sweet, but breaking that can prove to be like cracking granite.
Two Keys to Timely Discipline:
1. Don’t Wait
“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying” (Proverbs 19:18).
This verse is saying that if we let negative issues go on too long, it becomes next to impossible to break them. Take care of matters today. When something is wrong, then take care of it. Check it out immediately. Lying doesn’t get better by waiting. Immoral behavior doesn’t get better by waiting. Sometimes we would rather take a “wait and see” approach. I certainly would advise praying about it, but at the same time, we must deal with it before it takes deep root. A little weed can become so big if we let it go. When weeds are little, you can reach down and pull them up with ease, but when they get a little bit older and have taproots that are twelve inches long, it takes a backhoe to pull them! Get weeds out of a child’s life while they are still small. If you wait, it’s going to be hard on them and the family. You don’t do anybody any favor by waiting. It’s not nice to let a boy and youth just play and live like life is a party, and then when they turn eighteen tell them to, “go out and make something of yourself” – that’s just not nice. How much better is it to start slowly.
Some people might object and say, “That’s too hard on a child.” However, it is much harder on them when they’re eighteen and you’ve let them play all their life and then expect that they would become this great mature person. It’s terribly hard on them. It’s terribly hard on the family and yourself as well. How much easier would it for a colt to get used to a bridle or a saddle by starting them when they’re young, than to let them “run free” all their lives and then try to break them as a full grown stallion! The same thing is true with our family.