Correcting Children: the Role and the Goal

Correcting Children (part 1)

Proper roles within the family unit are important and your children will test these particular waters often to see if anything has changed. Mom has hers. Dad has his. Siblings have theirs.

Let’s be clear and teach them clearly that the “child” role in the family is that of “servant”. The master is/are the parent(s).

4 What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate.
Galatians 4:1 New International Version (NIV)

Much of parent child conflict with correction happens because there is a testing and/or misunderstanding about this truth. The child asks by his actions, “ What position of power do I occupy in this family unit?” If the parent is not confident in their superior position or unwilling to teach the child with due respect that the child holds a somewhat lower position, power play problems begin to plague Mom and Dad eventually rippling outward to the extended family. There is a point of no return here. Early training and constant reminding; the maintaining of proper family role boundaries is essential.

19 Servants cannot be corrected by mere words;
though they understand, they will not respond

Proverbs 29:19 New International Version (NIV)

(In the KJV, the word ‘respond’ is translated ‘answer’- 4617:- reply, answer, response, purpose. It combines the ideas of 6030 with 6031:- to answer, reply, respond; usually verbal, the response can involve action; to sing to or about; testify, bear witness, give an answer, lift up; combined with:- to be afflicted, to stoop down,to be concerned about, be worried about, to be afflicted humbled oppressed; to subdue, humble, mistreat; to deny oneself; to keep occupied, to keep busy, to humble oneself [to be humbled by force implies dishonor).

The purpose or goal to all disciplinary action taken by the master is a response; Usually compliance.  Generally, the master is aiming to establish good habits  within the servant so that the servant can be trusted to accomplish their given tasks independently. In parenting, we call this response goal ‘obedience’ — Humble, self initiated, occupation to complete the task given without talking back but in a pleasing manner. Whereas, the goal of correction is knowledge of the truth. Both go together.

For example: Ryker (18 mos.) has been told not to get on the fireplace hearth. However, he sees mother and Nana walk on it all the time. Why does HE get in trouble for putting his foot on it. Why can’t he sit there like they sometimes do? The answer is that he is wobbly. It is not safe especially when it’s hot. Grownups are more stable and have learned a proper respect for the fireplace. Ryker’s perception of the danger is questionable. Sometimes it’s hot, sometimes its not. Reality is that the danger potential changes. How is he supposed to sort it all out?

Ryker’s response is to repeatedly test this seemingly unfair boundary. Decisively, to the point that it is fast approaching the appearance of a rebellious attitude. The look at you first, toe to the line defiant I’m a person too type of response.

It’s not rebellion. Ryker is not a “bad” boy. He is testing his environment. Treat it like rebellion and you’ve lost.

Not only does this require correction ( that instruction that brings about alignment with reality) it may also require a disciplinary action as the Scripture teaches… mere words will not bring about a response… a course correction. Action plus instruction with a calm assertive tone is priceless in this situation.

What is the desired response? Compliance with the instructions in a trustworthy, timely and pleasant manner until such time as he is deemed ready (by his ‘masters’) to help build fires in in the wood stove or to be close to it without being harmed.

Ahhh discipline. 

18 Discipline your children, for in that there is hope;
do not be a willing party to their death.
Proverbs 19:18 New International Version (NIV)

Hope sure beats death doesn’t it? Sometimes death occurs from ignorance: solution – instruction, warning. Ignoring danger signs as an act of the will –choosing to do so — also has death potential; solution: Correction that beings about realignment. Sometimes death is more than a safety of life issue, it is evidenced by a child’s inability to function properly in one or several areas of living. More about this later… but praise God, God raises the dead. Amen?

Discipline rendered ‘chasten’ in the KJV 3256:- to correct, discipline, to accept correction, be warned, be disciplined; to punish, correct, discipline; to instruct, train, strengthen; to catch; to let oneself take warning.

At the forefront the goal of discipline is warning with a touch of instruction or training in order to strengthen. Essentially we are aiming to enable the child to be strong in the correct area.

11 For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness—in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God].

Hebrews 12:11 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Disciplining a child is much more than saying, “This action bothers me so I will train (spank, give time outs, withhold privileges, etc.) it right out of him.” Though discipline does involve pain, we want instead to focus on establishing good habits, learning to accept constructive correction, learning to process and take warning effectively, build self-initiated skills, (we want them to be independent, right?) and to strengthen what God has already given to the child.

Little masters (parents) need to keep in mind that The Master (God Himself) does not want them to be despised and their angels talk to God about each of your children. So what  the little masters say and do becomes very important.

While disciplining children benefits from Scriptural precedent, when disciplining a child it is not wise to use Scripture to effect a little “master’s” own agenda.

EX: One mother would constantly say, “I’m going to make you a meek and quiet spirit if it kills me!” Her go-to reference was the KJV version of Peter’s words:

But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.    1 Peter 3:4 King James Version (KJV)

What she didn’t understand was that this passage does not give license to tell someone to shut up when it bothers you. Her child was a talkative, happy little girl until being so brought the child grief. The mother was successful in beating down her daughter’s desire to talk and thus crippled her conversational skills- something that, now grown, child is still recovering from forty years later.

A different look at a more appropriately translated version is in the Amplified:

But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.      1 Peter 3:4 Amplified Bible (AMP)

This adorning of the soul is SELF initiated. It is gentle and charming because of inner peace that only God can give. It is not wrong to talk. It is wrong to talk wrongly…. The Bible has a lot to say about talking and those instructions would have been strengthening not crippling.

Raising children is difficult. Disciplining children is not a pleasant task but take Paul’s encouragement:  For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness.  Let’s not make it more difficult. Let’s purpose to gain the good result.  

17 Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your heart.

Proverbs 29:17 Amplified Bible (AMP)

The word translated here as “correct” is that same word rendered “discipline” above, Strong’s word 3256 – yāsar. Not only does correction bring habits of righteousness to your child, correcting him or her brings rest and delight to you, the parent. That is well worth the discomfort of the process. 

We all come to the point where we realize we can’t do this on our own. We need help. Amen?

Father, God, LORD of creation, please help us to be better people ourselves and to lead our children correctly in the Name of Jesus who saves us from our sins. Emmanuel who is with us side by side, strengthen us to accomplish this task efficiently and excellently. Thank you. Amen.

Repent?

Repent.”

This is a curious word associated with witch hunts, the inquisition, and today’s courtrooms, Bible thumpers who mean well and Bible thumpers who have hidden evil agendas. God is real and those who worship Him must align themselves with reality. Never be shy about investigating the truth… physical and spiritual truth no matter what the history has been. John 4 

Let’s start at the beginning. John the Baptist and Jesus certainly saw repentance as foundational. Consider the similarity of their first message:

John’s message:  Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Mt:3:2

Jesus’ message: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Mt. 4:17

Remarkably simple, isn’t it?

Jesus built on that message a bit later with these few elements:

 Now after John had been [a]taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee,[b]preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God [c]is at hand; repent and [d]believe in the gospel.”

Mark 1:14-15

As the disciples prepared the way for Jesus they too, preached that people should repent. Mark 6:11-13Hebrews calls repentance from acts that lead to death an elementary doctrine of faith in God. Hebrews 6:1-3 

Having been “saved” over 40 years ago, the grade school teachings of faith should be mastered by now but sadly they’re not. Partly because nobody told me;  Partly because I didn’t investigate it myself. Then the other third is that I am not in the habit of practicing repentance. Practice and mastery always go together.

First things first.

What does it mean to repent?

The word for repent used in the Bible is 5162 and 7725 in the Old Testament; 3340 and 3338 in the New Testament.  I’m using Strong’s concordance reference numbers. Read below for the definitions of the words themselves.

5162 – nāham – to relent, repent, change one’s mind; be grieved ; to comfort, console, express one’s sympathy, to avenge one’s self. (Well now, that realigns my thinking somewhat. … comforted?! … personal vengeance?!!)

7725 – šûb – to turn back, turn to, return; to restore; to be recovered; to be returned; from the base meaning of turning back comes the figurative extension of restoration of relationship as when one turns in repentance to God.

3340 – metanoeō – to repent, to change any or all of the elements composing one’s life: attitudes, thoughts and behaviors concerning the demands of God for right living

3338 -metamelomai- to regret, repent; to be repentant, changed of mind, remorseful

Is the message becoming clear? I know I still had questions. Maybe you have asked these too.

Repent from what? Doesn’t that have to do with being bad? …taking a wrong turn? What if I’m a good person, choosing to do what’s right as a daily priority? 

Repent to what? If I’m going to choose a path, I want to know where I’m going. Logical, common sense goes a long way. Reality goes further;  I want to know the realities of where I’m going. Describe the destination honestly so I can make informed choices, please. 

Why? What benefit do I get if I choose to turn away from life as I know it? Do I even have to? How important is repentance in the grand scheme of things anyway?

How? By what power or action can I repent? Again, being realistic is vastly superior to bad intel. Don’t tell me how to get to Detroit and give me directions to Houston.  Don’t advise flip flops then take me hiking on a mountain trail. … that would be crippling and make me grumpy.  Various acts of nāham would be incredibly tempting.

Repent. It’s a simple sentence. …a direct command. It is also a much larger topic than I’d imagined. So let’s take this piece of our faith’s foundation one question at a time. Let’s base what we believe on what God really says. Ready?

Who can repent?

From what?

To what?

Why?

How?

Repentance anyone?

Noah’s Days Remembered

It is easy to understand if you but cast a glance

Salvation of the chosen – Noah’s days in remembrance.

 

What a shame they carried on

The culture of the day, 

Denying truth their eyes could see

Until it was too late.

Focused on themselves, their own business made them blind.

Salvation could be theirs … but by default they declined

 

Noah stood apart from his neighbors about that very thing.

Noah saw things differently – the life that truth could bring.

He chose to walk with God each and every day,

To share the things he saw, what he learned along the way.

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time

Born to comfort from God’s curse, he condemned them for their crimes. 

Man marries any girl he sees, is violent and proud.

Oppression rules the land and hangs its heavy cloud.

 

One day while they were talking, God shared His little plan

To cleanse the earth of creatures and wipe out every man.

The flood would come; God was angry at mankind.

Deep sorrow filled God’s heart and occupied his creative mind.

The LORD would save a remnant … in a box upon the sea

In holy fear Noah built it – board by board,

Active

faithfully.

 

God did not build the ark, but had Noah see it through.

God didn’t do the job at all, but told Noah what to do.

Together they brought this project to its successful end.

Preaching and protected, God gave this work to His good friend.

 

Noah was careful to obey God’s word to the uttermost detail.

It is because he did this, that his mission did not fail.

If those who travel on this globe called upon the LORD,

God would send salvation. They’d enjoy its sure reward

In ships you build and ships you see your success would be the same,

If you called upon the LORD and honored his most Holy Name. 

Father Not

Father not my will but thine be done.

Father not from earth, the heavenly ONE.

Father not of one but chosen few,

Father not your work but mine to do.

Father not seen by flesh and blood.

Father not daunted by fire nor flood.

Father not called my father in vain.

Father” not once but again and again.

How should we remember our father? How do you remember yours? Some give gifts on Father’s Day. Some light a candle. Some post on Face Book remembrances for the departed loved one. Some of us just cry for a bit. 

A Hebrew word “remember” (Strong’s word 2142 – zākar) means ‘to be born male’ among other renderings of being reminded or made mention of. Males in the families typically carry the family name into the next generation. 

We carry on the name of our father by being called by his surname. (Praise God that I do not have to become male to do that!!) Last names do have meanings and predominantly describe a clan’s work or behavior. Over the years, people would associate the children with the father’s reputation, health or illness, skills, abilities, preferences, tragedies or triumphs, wealth, poverty, strength or weakness, education, politics or religion.

Over several more years, individuality became king and carrying on the family name or restoring its honor was lost in a vast sea of ideologically strong willed but floundering children. One could almost say that association with the head of one’s childhood home in itself became the garbage of society hardly worth throwing into landfills.

Tragic.

It is curious that children have a way of promoting remembrance. The way mom did this and dad does that show up in our children without our permission and cause us to remember. Sometimes those are good things and sometimes not. Whichever the case, we are transported immediately and whatever went around has come around again …to roost.

It sounds like I am advocating the restoration of the father-child relationship. To be sure, that was a task given to Elijah and necessary  to prepare the way for the LORD. I am not doing that here. 

Jesus says to call no man “father”.  Why? You already have one. ONE and only one. My personal sorrow turned to joy because of this one important family realignment.

So I am advocating a return to honoring our heavenly Father properly not merely restoring broken earthly relationship. Earthly restoration may happen in the process. Honestly, for some, that never happens.

As a part of Yahweh’s family, He alone takes that Father role in your life. He provides. He teaches. He guides. He rewards. He corrects. He inflicts punishment. He comforts and restores. He fights for you. He challenges you to be excellent.

We do not have a BBQ in his honor one day out of the year. If He is relegated to even one day’s respect per week the relationship suffers. Rather, He expects 24/7 – 365 active, name bearing acknowledgment.

It remains a truth of community: the son does what the father does

To be sure, there are some things our Heavenly Father does that we cannot do — like judge the whole earth, send the Holy Spirit, save souls from damnation, or add time to our lives. However, if we do what he tells us to do with the strength and guidance He gives, that is enough. Our habitual obedience from one generation to the next brings Him the name-bearing honor He deserves.

Jesus’ Will Today

Jesus’ Will Today I pray

Perhaps Jesus will come today.

What will He find me doing?

Offering Him some prayers today.

What will He hear me saying?

Caring for those He sends my way

No matter who they are?

Asking Him

To help them

To obey His pull

Within their heart?

Instead…

Focused on the things I love

Success and doing each one well

I missed a chance to speak for others

On their behalf, faith and victory to propel.

In matters of life’s daily chores

Worn out and really sore

That in this day of His,

I forgot whose Name it was I bore.

Next time…

Will he find

That I’ve been kind

To those He calls His own?

Will I speak what is true and just?

Will I use His loving tone?

The Fragrance and the Flowers

An arrangement of joy in down town Walla Walla, Washington
An arrangement of joy in down town Walla Walla, Washington

When life seems overwhelming

And circumstances crowd you out;

When squished is all you’re feeling,

And longing for an out;

Just remember

God gathers ALL the pieces.

He holds them in His hand.

Though they’re not

Where you might place them,

Together they look grand.

He chose them very carefully

And set them all just so.

The fragrance and the flowers

Bring Him much joy you know.

Friendship

Friendship

Give and take

A world of involvement

Someone else

Living

 

Bear each other’s burdens

Think of others before yourself

Kind in kind repeating

Love them more than anyone else

 

Love the one who hates you

Treat each person with respect

Holding tightly to God’s ev’ry promise

His perfect peace and blessed rest

Standing firm in your convictions

A humble life has glowed

Meekly shone friends to the Truth

And let them choose their road

Hoby and His Father

Hoby was alone.

He was an only child. His mother died giving birth to him. His father was always in the market place.

They didn’t have much money but with what his father could trade and Hoby could steal, both scratched out a living.

Survival. That was the single focus of their lonely, outcast life.

Living by wit and will power gets one many things but not friendship. Not peace.

Hoby thought everyone hated him. Everyone that is until he met Festus, the shadow. Shadows became comfortable and darkness became Hoby’s dearest friend.

Festus told him about people; Who to steal from, who to lie to, how to make it fun. With Festus for a companion Hoby got very good at it. He could talk faster and steal more. His father wasn’t entirely happy about it but he sure enjoyed all the stuff Hoby brought home and he was always busy working an angle at market; Too busy to concern himself with his son’s life.

One day Festus wanted something in return.

Hoby would give him anything. That’s what friends do.

Little by little Festus continued taking things from Hoby. Soon Hoby had nothing but his health. In time that too he gave to darkness.

Hoby’s father grew sadder and sadder as the days went on. Unknown to Hoby, his father loved him and hated seeing him this way. Each day he wound his way through the labyrinth of the market place keeping a watchful eye on his son… his only son. When Festus took over his boy’s body, hot tears of remorse and helplessness ran down his cheeks.

If only he’d shown more love to Hoby. If only he’s kept him with him all day. If only….

Wasn’t there anyone who could save his only son?!

Yes! There was a healer in town named Jesus. He cast out demons and wherever he went darkness fled from him. Some said Jesus was the son of God. Maybe he could help him. Would he help such poor sinners like himself and like Hoby?

Paralyzed by his lot in life, the troubled and sad father did nothing until one day Festus threw Hoby into convulsions right in front of everyone. In a sudden burst of love, the father thought nothing about the gawking market goers, he just wanted his son to be free.

He waited for his chance. Festus sometimes left Hoby alone. When he left him the next time Hoby’s father would take him to this Jesus.

They found Jesus’ disciples! They had hope. Nothing happened. A crowd began to gather and argue about demon possession. Festus returned.

When Hoby’s father saw Jesus he said, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”

It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

In that moment, the only son of the King of the Universe met the heart deep need of one young sinner, the only son of a despairing and desperate dad.

You can find the real story here.

Remember that no matter how long it’s been, everything is possible for him who believes …in Jesus.

Wash Up by Name

Just a thought.

How do you wash a child?

…After dinner has been the sensory development of hands, face, shoulders and hair rather than mouth and tongue?

…After curiously decorated mud pies are ready to bake in the summer sun and the pint size baker is wearing so much of the ingredients that only a huge smile and sparkling eyes let you know there is a happy child somewhere in the vicinity?

…After wading through creeks swooshed with algae capturing polliwogs?

…After a day at the beach building sand sculptures and frolicking in tiny breakers with the family pooch?

No matter what the situation, the basic washing remains the same. When it comes to spiritual things, how do we get clean?

To find out, let’s look at The Great Commission in Matthew 28. Jesus commands us to wash all nations (disciples….or we could say, our spiritual children) in the Name. Yes, we are put into the Name as one puts children into the bath water.

The word translated by the NIV and most other translations as“baptizing” is Strong’s word 907 – baptizō . It is defined as – to wash; to baptize; the baptizer.

So the text actually says, “ Therefore go and ‘make disciples of” (teach – Strong’s word #3100) all nations, washing them in the name of the Father, and of the son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

It dawned on me that this does not describe being dipped, dunked, or sprinkled with H2O, making a public profession of faith in Jesus, and then having another person speak the words, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” over the one being dunked like it’s some kind of good luck charm.

While that tradition is long-lived and will remain, there is much more to God’s intention.

If we think of the Name(s) of God as the water by which we wash (i.e. that substance into which we are immersed or with which we are sprinkled), then our thinking about the great commission – indeed about the beginning of discipleship – must align itself with that reality. Amen?

Consider these thoughts about washing a child:

  • A parent washes their own child
  • A parent makes sure that all body parts are cleansed
  • A parent ensures that the child emerges from the process a happy camper
  • A parent trains them to enjoy being clean as the process repeats
  • A parent teaches the child how to wash themselves

Consider these realigned thoughts about washing an infant believer:

  • The one who instructs them about Christ does the washing
  • The instruction includes training the newbie to enjoy the washing
  • The Name of the Father (Creator, Sustainer, and Judge), the Son (Forgiver, Lasting Friend our Boss and Agent of Rescue), and the Holy Spirit (the Counselor) are the ‘water’ used to cleanse all the body parts
  • We don’t stay in the “water” but we do return to it…regularly.
  • After having been cleansed, we dress, then start daily “play” all over again.

Washing another person does not last forever. Part of the training includes allowing the child to wash themselves with the water. To neglect this essential part is to set the child up to be shunned by their, parents, peers and the community in general.

Children need to be trained to take baths regularly because it is not natural for them to want to. Neither is it natural for us to want to be immersed in the Name of God. .. to make central to our daily routine, His activity and nature. It is, however, a spiritual necessity.

Willfully stinky, dirty people are not accepted. Appropriately cleaned and dressed ones are. So we educate our children about this good habit. In fact, we insist on it.

Dear Friend, please take a bath in Jesus’ Name… regularly. It’s simply good spiritual hygiene.

Just a thought.

Precious Child of Mine

Your servant is lonely,

O God, please hear my cry!

I feel so forsaken,

Must I give until I die?

The aching of my heart deepens with everything I do

Some days

I feel

It just isn’t worth it

this serving You.

No one cares for me, LORD.

My love is not returned.

I pour all that I am

Into a cup wholly spurned.

Don’t people see any value

In my jar of clay?!

Through my tears, I too, question what You say.

Why must my journey be packed with so much pain?

Tell me, God of Heaven, what have You to gain?

 

Precious child of Mine, let me hold you to my chest

Without the press of time

I know myself the path you tread,

I Am that I Am

The firstborn from among the dead.

 

For your Glory O LORD

You lift up my head.

New life is mine

Exactly like you said.

The seed  you planted

it died

In the beauty of its bloom

You are magnified

Fragrant Rose of Sharon

Blooming on Your fertile plain

Thorns on my right

Thistles on my left

and all of us get rain.

 

Let those at sea and those on land

witness what You’ve done.

Transformed the seed

Shone through me

Radiant as the Sun.

 

Let my love be to You a rose among the thorns

Most precious in Your sight

With holiness adorned.

 

Precious child of Mine, 

Let us walk hand in hand without the press of time

Reveling in the glory by yourself you cannot claim;

Truth, Love and Faithfulness

Honestly proclaimed.