We look again at physical (corporal) punishment. When applied consistently, correctly, and with love it is character building. When not, it is destructive.
I freely admit it; I am a product of parents who used the ‘rod’. I used it also with my children. Neither they nor I used it abusively or arbitrarily. I believe it was also used in love. Not “I’m so obsessed with you that if you even think about leaving me, I will beat you into submission” but “I love you enough to give you boundaries and consequences to keep you safe.”
There were times when I’m not sure if I used the ‘rod’ with anger. I PRAY I didn’t; and if I did, I PRAY God can repair any damage I have caused. My heart was always to bring about correction and point my child again in the proper direction. It was NEVER to humiliate. NEVER to demonstrate my superiority/power over them. NEVER to ‘break’ them. It was, however, meant to get their FULL attention and focus it on their behavior. It was to show them that actions DO have consequences. And their action, whatever it was at the time needed correcting.
When ANY type of discipline is used, especially physical punishment, as a tool for correcting the child, consistency is CRUCIAL! If a specific behavior elicits negative consequences, then repeated instances of that behavior MUST elicit consequences too. There is nothing more harmful to a child’s ability to learn from their mistakes than to give them inconsistent correction.
Children are born without the ability to self-regulate, self-motivate, and self-direct. They learn these traits by example and consistent boundaries. They will bump up against the boundaries we set for them. When they do, they NEED to know there is strength and stability in them. Without consistency, the child doesn’t knows what to expect. They don’t need ‘holes in the fence line”; places that were firm a few days ago. This leaves them confused and afraid. By applying consistent boundaries, children learn to move away from the incorrect behavior on their own. They learn to regulate their own behavior. They learn the difference between right and wrong in the safety of their own environment.
These lessons shape the rest of their lives. They build character, depending on how the correction was applied. Wrongly applied correction (done in anger, inconsistent, or meant to demean) builds resentment and an angry adult. Correctly applied discipline aids in building godly character. One that understands right from wrong, and freely chooses the better option. Character that will benefit the society they join, wherever it may be.
Father God, THANK YOU for entrusting me with the lives of my children. THANK YOU for the privilege of raising them. I PRAY I taught them the lessons You would have me teach. And HOW You would have me teach them. Heal their hearts from ANY damage I did in my ignorance and arrogance.
They have become AMAZING adults! Their most important thing though Father is to bring them back to You. They have wandered and I don’t know how to correct this. I know it isn’t my place to discipline them any longer, as they are adults. Let me lead by example. The BEST part of that example being praying for them, even when they don’t believe. Loving them back into Your Kingdom. Send whoever it takes, and do whatever is necessary, to get their attention. DRAW them to Your breast Lord. Once again, I leave them in Your hands.