Questions for parents.
What does discipline look like in your home?
Is it strategic or random?
Do you have a plan in place for when infractions occur? Something like, 'If you do that, this will happen.' Or do you just deal with it in the moment? Something like, 'Well now you're grounded!'
As I look at the Bible, I think there is process to the work of discipline. Let me share.
It starts in Genesis 2, as we read the account of man being created and placed into the Garden of Eden. Eden becomes a picture of God's rest, or of heaven; a place of perfect delight. In this garden God does something pretty amazing. In the center of the garden God plants 2 trees. The first is the Tree of Life. The second, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Surrounding these trees, all the splendor and delight of the garden. Man is then told that he is to work and keep the garden.
But in verses 16 and 17, of chapter 2, God says this...
"16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17 esv)
I think this is the beginning of discipline.
If Discipline begins as a practice of teaching or instruction, we can say that this was God teaching or instructing the man. God gives the man clear boundaries, or rules for the garden. We could say that this was the expectations that God establishes for mans behavior while in the garden. Man was instructed that he was free to enjoy the fruit from every tree in the garden except for the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Man knew God's requirements.
You see, the first step in discipline is instruction.
As parents, it is our responsibility to first instruct our children. If God had placed the man in the garden, without the instruction of what he could or could not eat, we might argue that man would have free reign of all the fruits. But that's not the case. God is clear in giving the man is boundaries. God does the same thing in a much broader sense when he presents the Law to Moses. The Law was the standard that God gave to his people so that they would know how to live. It was God's instruction for his people, saying, 'Here is how I expect you to live. Not as you think fit, but by what I say is right.'
Discipline must begin with parents first teaching children the boundaries and expectations. Whether it's the rules of the house or of society or the Word of God, parents we must teach our children. In the garden, it was the mans responsibility to pass God's instruction along to his family. First with his wife, then later with his children.
As you think about your process of discipline, ask yourself, 'Am I disciplining my children based on what I am teaching them or how they are living without my instruction?'
Maybe sit down with your spouse and begin talking about what you are teaching your kids. Are you applying instruction to their hearts in a way that reveals your expectations, or are you reacting to the infraction that you know to be wrong but didn't first taught as a boundary?
Be sure to join us again tomorrow as we look at what comes out of our instruction and the choice that every one of has to make.
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- the Higham Family
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