“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” Proverbs 13:24
One of the most important ways that parents love their children is by correcting them when they do wrong. In Proverbs 13:24, Solomon reminds us of this truth. Too many parents, however, have focused on the “rod” part of this verse, and not enough on the “love” part of this verse. There is only one way that correction should ever be given to a child and that is in love. They must always know that the motive of that discipline is love. It is not anger, not getting even with the child, and not carrying out your wrath against the child; it is love.
There is a mistake that we have all made as parents, and that is disciplining our children for acting like children. There is one thing that has happened in every household – a child knocked a glass of milk over. What is worse? He is going to laugh at his sister when she knocks her milk over. Clothes will get dirty and messes will be made. This is part of childhood. Never discipline a child for being what they are…children. Do you know when you need to discipline a child? You should discipline a child when he starts acting like a bad adult.
Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” A child that is left to himself is a child left in the condition in which he was born. We are all born with a sinful nature. It is not hard to be selfish. It is not hard to want our way. It is not hard to care more about ourselves than we do about others. We are born this way.
As parents, we are to be a tool in the hands of God to direct a child from where he would go to where he should go. Every child is born headed in the wrong direction. If we truly love our children, we will always correct them and firmly yet tenderly turn them in the right direction.
There is another part of correcting children that may be even more important: Catch your children when they do what is right. Too many parents only notice what their children do wrong. I want to exhort all parents to spend as much, if not more, time focusing on our kids when they do what is right. Compliment them, encourage them, brag on them. They need this affirmation!
A huge part of parenting is careful correction. Correct them when they are wrong, catch them when they are right, and do both out of the motive of love.
Application: Are you carefully and intentionally correcting your children?