Reader beware: This a Serious Saturday Posting.. Stay tuned for more light-heartedness later in the week..
Discipline. Wow. That’s not even fun to type.
I’m motivated to write about discipline today, for two reasons. First, I had to punish my youngest son recently, which doesn’t happen very often, and second, I just watched Toddler’s and Tiaras.. I know. I swear to you, I watch it with an open mouth and I even pray for those kids sometimes.
The word Discipline, by Webster’s definition is; 1. Punishment 2. Instruction 3. training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character. 5. Self control.. Now that doesn’t sound too bad, does it? At least it doesn’t sound bad for you.
It is summer break right now and being so, my kids are not jumping out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, which is fine by me, but.. they are pushing 10:30-11:30 on some mornings. Besides the new chill approach to the morning schedule, there has not been much reading or calculating or even music practicing going on.. Our poor canines have even been left to the way side, as their normal 6:30AM breakfast and outing is now a no-frill brunch to lunch with not even a scratch behind the ear. Laundry has spent more time in the baskets and I don’t think the beds have been made more than once or twice. What’s wrong with that? It’s SUMMER for crying out loud! It’s time for all school-aged children to relax. chill. take a much needed vacation from the daily grind of learning… Not anymore in my house. A new morning routine has been implemented. Complete with a chart. Yes. I am one of those mom’s…
I haven’t found in any parenting books, or in scripture where it is a suggested practice to have your kids work hard to the best of their ability, be responsible, seek knowledge and discipline and develop good habits, but then stop. Take 2-3 months off. If anything, all of the parenting books I have read have preached “consistency” and stressed the importance of learning to be responsible through loving discipline. A big part of parenting, from day one, is preparing them to leave. I know that sounds harsh, but it is reality. They are going to leave and have to be responsible for themselves someday. How ready are they (and you) going to be? 26 is the new 18, as personal responsibility and self discipline are traits now avoided… These traits are missing so much in today’s culture, like the cult of pageants and team sports, Disney sit-coms and MTV. When did parents start thinking that athletic, social and beauty “discipline” trumped character discipline? When did kids start telling parents what to do and when to do it? And when did kids start knowing what was best for them? Really? Seriously?
It builds character to seek knowledge and serve others. Education is a privilege in this world, but taken for granted in this country. It builds character to take care of an animal and have chores that you don’t get paid for. It builds character to do something you know is good, even if you don’t have to do it. It builds character to be told no or to do it again. It builds character to loose gracefully and to win with humility. How is this implemented? It is taught and caught by the most influential people in your life, that love enough to discipline.
So, what’s the point and what do we do? If we really want the best for our kids, we need to seriously look at what we hope for them. One of my favorite pastors, Chip Ingram, says to make a “to be” list instead of a “to do” list. Whatever you want for your kids (or they want for themselves) you have to make opportunities for. I don’t mean, “be the best baseball player”, I’m talking about character goals, like “I want to be a good friend”… Parenting should be deliberate and pro-active, not just re-active. You also need to pray for your kids. I highly recommend the book by Stormie Omartian – The Power of a Praying Parent. She gives my prayers words when I have none. Then you need to sit back and relax in the hand of God and know He’s on it. The outcome is not up to the parent. Control is a fleeting thing, influence you will have most of the time, but prayer, faith and love are yours forever.
Now go make your kids clean something and read a book.