The entire book of Proverbs is about parenting. The opening chapters remind us that these little wisdom sayings are coming from a father to his son. For those of us who are parents, we need to remember that our primary responsibility is to write the moral code found in Proverbs on the heart of our children. We do this both with our words and with our actions. The glue that makes the message of wisdom stick to the hearts of our children is consistency. If our walk is consistent with our talk, then our children will be more apt to believe that the words we say flow from a place of truth and meaning.
The following Proverbs deal specifically with the role of discipline in the area of parenting. Read each Proverb and write a brief summary next to it.
What a young child needs is to be taught the boundaries of moral character. They need to learn the difference between right and wrong; between life and death. They need swift justice. Like a funnel, the boundaries for a young child are very tight and controlled. As the child learns self-control and grows in wisdom their boundaries expand like the walls of a funnel until the young adult can experience real freedom. To invert the funnel and give a small child boundless freedom is to train the child that they are the bearers of wisdom within himself. This is a dangerous practice that will teach a child to be “wise in their own eyes” and develop the heart of a fool.
Discipline is the key to keeping a child within the funnel. When a child is walking within the moral boundaries they should be praised. When they cross the line there needs to be swift and consistent consequences that carries with it a pain that matches the severity of the offense. A small child (between ages 0-5) does not understand reason, they are concrete thinkers. They have not developed a moral conscience yet. As the parent it is our job to train them to what moral behavior looks like through consistent discipline, and both positive and negative reinforcement. As the child grows, their conscience and higher reasoning capabilities will catch up with their behaviors and they will begin to understand why their correct behaviors are right.
Parents, let’s love our children by teaching them through words, actions, and discipline the way that they should behave that will bring honor and glory to God.