Discipline - Part 2

Discipline.  The effective equipping of a child by a parent for successful living.

It takes a lot of time.  It takes a lot of energy.  It's hard. 

But it is definitely worth it!

Just as an athlete enjoys a sweet feeling of accomplishment upon crossing that finish line, so does a child...and a parent....relish the rewards of discipline, of effective equipping. Parenting isn't a sprint - it's a marathon.  Actually, it's a series of marathons, one right after the other! Hebrews 12:11 warns us that it will be hard - For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  So don't be surprised when you feel like quitting.  Don't give up because it seems like it's not working.  Hang in there.  The results are worth it!

Think about discipline having these 4 components - each one is contingent upon the other: 

Instruction (impart knowledge/explain goal)
Training (how to reach goal)
Correction (remove hindrances to goal)
Result (reach goal)

1.  Instruction 
Not only is this aspect of discipline crucial, it must be first.  Whether it's how to hit a tennis ball or a command not to run in the street, instruction must be preeminent.  Of course it must be age appropriate and I am not suggesting that parents owe an explanation for every edict, but instruction must be given.  It must be clear and it must be communicated.  What are the expectations, what are the "rules", what are the goals. Repetition, reminders, refresher courses...instruction. As in "Betsy, we're about to have lunch with Daddy's work friends.  Let's remind ourselves of the things we need to do....."  First step of discipline - instruction

2.  Training
Instruction is the "what" and training is the "how". Here's how to reach the goal set out in instruction. Here's how one answers the phone.  Here's how one behaves in the grocery store.  Here's how to treat a sibling and an authority and a friend.  Here's how to obey.  Clear instruction flows into intentional training. Explain.  Show.  Go through it with the child.  Just like it helps to hold the baseball bat on top of their little hands and swing it with them to connect to the ball, so we train. I am grinning thinking of the many training sessions on so many subjects at our house - from how to answer the phone to the steps of obedience.    Second step of discipline - training.

3. Correction 
Correction isn't punishment.  It's adjusting the course, removing hindrances to the goal, fine-tuning performance.  While it may involve pain, what distinguishes correction from punishment is the purpose. Correction of whatever is preventing success. When an athlete has a habit or a form that impedes accuracy or victory, it needs to be corrected.  Same for kids.  If you observe behavior that needs modifying, first ask yourself if the steps of instruction and training have been sufficient.  If not, then regroup and provide those.  Then correct the error.  In a later post, I will discuss methods of correction.  But for now, know that the purpose of correction is to remove anything that impedes the reaching of the goal.

4.  Result
The fruit of labor.  The reward.  The result of receiving instruction, of being trained, of making the necessary corrections.  Or not!  Either the goal of desired behavior is reached or the errors along the way prevent it.

As a parent, know that discipline is time-consuming.  It can be wearisome.  There will be temptation to take the easy route.  But if you will be consistent (not perfect) and patient, the result will be sweet.  The peaceful fruit of righteousness.  Oh, how it's worth it!

Discipline.  Either we pay the price now and enjoy the reward later.  Or we consider the cost too great now and pay for it later.  The cost goes up exponentially over time.  In fact, I'm not sure we ever recover what was lost by not disciplining early and effectively.

This verse often encourages me when I am tempted to give in or give up - Hebrews 10:36 -
 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised
Just gotta smile.  God's extravagant efficiency -- while I'm training my kids, He's training me!!