UCLA sociologist, James Wilson, once said that when observing inner city life, he noticed the crime rate escalates on those streets where broken windows are not repaired. His study showed that the failure to replace windows makes an announcement to the public by saying the standards have been lowered and authority has been abandoned. Wilson sees such practices of disrepair as an invitation for further crime without the threat of adverse consequences. This is also true in raising our children. If we allow bad habits, inappropriate behavior or unacceptable practices to go unchecked, we will be inviting further destruction into the lives of our children. When we exercise discipline needed to stop and change any damaging behavior, we will erect a fence of protection that will prevent further personal erosion.
Every human being has flaws and likely even more so when being around flawed people. We are what we hang around as we mentioned earlier. If a sculpture artist notices a flaw, they must immediately repair it before the clay hardens. If they wait too long it becomes embedded in the clay and could leave a mark or indentation – taking away from the value. The same goes for our children. Taking the time to discipline them correctly is part of creating a masterpiece.
It is not complicated or a bad thing, but simply a necessity to take care of things right away that could affect the finished product. When a child misbehaves and begins to carry a negative trait, it’s the parent’s responsibility is to remold the character in the child.
Don’t get me wrong – there is not a perfect person on this earth, but a child left to himself can be miserable and become a person others do not enjoy being around.
Discipline: the practice or method of teaching and enforcing acceptable patterns of behavior – a controlled orderly state.
Basically, discipline is a method of teaching. We can teach a child to make their bed, clean their room and take a bath, but if we have not disciplined them when they fail to go by the rules, then we have missed an important part of parenting. Proper discipline brings out the best in a person. It doesn’t have to be complicated. A teacher uses discipline when the child does not turn in a paper on time. The results are perhaps to stay after school or to get a low grade.
“I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.” (Genesis 18:19 NLT)
The only way we can be assured that our kids are raised properly is to discipline them the right way when they are in the wrong. Then God will do for us as He promised He would do – protect and keep them.
When a parent gives a child something to do and it is not done, then there needs to be consequences. When done properly and consistently, it can be as simple as “Okay, you didn’t do such and such, so this is what will happen.” There doesn’t need to be World War 3 in the house if a child understands the consequences of not obeying instructions.
Researchers say that the rational part of a child is not fully developed until 25, so some decisions should not be left up to them. Like going to school or determining a curfew and on and on. God expects parents to make important decisions for them until they are mature enough to do so. If you have ever met a child that has been allowed to make their own decisions without guidance, you have probably met a troubled and confused kid.
Children Want Boundaries
Without boundaries, kids don’t feel safe and secure. Now they may say otherwise, but down deep inside they don’t know how to make major decisions. When left to do so, it makes them feel insecure and confused. God programmed their young minds to lean on adult supervision and without that they do not know how to deal with life in this world. They actually depend on someone to lead them.
Make it simple – you have a small human being that is not mentally or emotionally equipped to go through life without guidance and someone to teach them discipline. God has put you over them to teach them. We talked about house rules before and the importance of enforcing them.
I am a business builder with a large international company and it’s my job to train those in my care on the products and how to build a business. There are certain things to do and not to do for them to be successful. As their senior in the company, it is my responsibility to teach them ways to help them build a business. It’s not fair if I just leave them to figure it out on their own since I know more about the company and the products. In order to help them to succeed in the business, it’s helpful if I teach them the things I know.
Our children deserve the same. It’s not fair to them for us to just leave them to learn life all on their own or expect them to teach themselves how to be a successful human being in this crazy world. We brought these little ones into the world. It’s our responsibility to take these little ones and help create a masterpiece that will be pleasing to God and successful in life. This will take disciplining them when necessary. In my next blog, we will talk about when to properly discipline our children according to God’s Word.
So to answer the question…to create a masterpiece, yes, discipline is necessary.
To Do: Stop by your children’s bedroom while they are asleep and just look at them for a few minutes. Tell yourself: “Self, this person is your responsibility. God expects you to lead and guide them through life. YOU are the one that must teach them right from wrong and you must also be the one to discipline them when they veer off the right path.” Ask God to lead and guide you to be the parent he expects you to be. God will be your help in creating a masterpiece.
Suggested Family Time: Some scientists asked 1,500 kids what they thought made up a happy family. The most frequent answer was simply. “Doing things together!” Kids spell love T-I-M-E. Make riding in the car family fun time and not always a video game time or a time for them to just stare out the window while you gab on the phone. My daughter Tamara recommends 101 Conversation Starters for Families (by Gary Chapman). She keeps those cards in her car which encourages fun and interesting conversations for the whole family.
Recommended Reading: Have a New Kid by Friday by Dr. David Leman (a must-read)
Time to Smile: A mom was telling the story of the Nativity to her 3 boys. She explained how the wise men brought gold, frankincense and myrrh for baby Jesus. The six year old quickly observed with “Mom, a wise woman would have brought diapers.” (By the way, parent, enjoy savoring the joys of this Christmas season with your family!)
Previous Recap: Honesty: The Best Policy. A child that is taught to show respect will be a great adult. It will equip them to better in a marriage, a job and as a parent. A child that knows the value of being honest and practices honesty is part of a masterpiece.