Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Biblical Parenting 101: Discipline

Assuming that Tulsa has recovered sufficiently from the ice storm (and we do not get hit hard by another one before Sunday), I will be finishing my class on biblical parenting this coming Sunday morning at the Contact Church of Christ. These are my notes:

*Every child needs discipline in order to make it in life. In order to become godly men and women, our children must learn to submit to proper authority.

*Tommy Nelson tells this true story: "In the early 1970s I was the chaplain of a high school football team. And on the team I served was a young man who was the finest high school player I have ever seen. He was one of only three athletes in the history of Texas to be a three-time high school all-American (meaning, he was a high school all-American as a sophomore!). When he was ready to graduate, he had his choice of colleges...The question was not whether this young man would be good, but whether he was going to win the Heisman. After he made his decision, I said to his high school coach, 'What do you think? Will he win the Heisman someday?' His coach replied, 'He'll never carry the ball in college.' I was shocked. 'What do you mean?' I demanded. And he told me this young man had a character flaw that would eventually disqualify him...Well, this young man ended up attending four different colleges---he quit two and was kicked out of two. He finished without a degree...What was the character flaw that the coach saw? 'He cannot submit to authority. He cannot submit to his parents. He cannot submit to an employer. He cannot submit to a teacher...We've carried him along for the sake of the ball club. But I assure you, he will not submit to his college coaches. His football career is done'" (The 12 Essentials of Godly Success, pp.81-82).

*The Bible tells us, "He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently" (Proverbs 13:24, NASB).

*We must care enough for our children to discipline them.

*"Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death" (Proverbs 19:18, NASB). We must act while we can. We do not want to see our children die in gang violence or from AIDS, because they never received appropriate discipline at home. They must learn to respect authority if we ever want to see them learn self-discipline and submission to God's standards.

*Discipline needs to vary depending on a child's temperament, age, and nature of the wrong committed. However, breaking the rules must be punished. Sometimes a verbal reprimand is sufficient; sometimes spanking is necessary; sometimes privileges must be taken away. However, something must be done to stop what would eventually become destructive behavior. If something is not working, add another punishment to it until you get the child to see the seriousness of the situation.

*While stopping inappropriate behavior is essential, discipline also includes working toward developing positive qualities in our children. We should want our sons to develop the character qualities of an elder or deacon (see 1 Timothy 3:1-13), and our daughters to become women of noble character (as described in Proverbs 31:10-31).

*We must point out positive role models (like members of the local church or celebrities like Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy) for our children to admire. We must discuss life issues with our children. We must guide them in selecting good entertainment choices. If we can help them to want to do good, we have won the war even if we lose a few battles occasionally.

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