Family Life - Stories

They Call It "Discipline!"

by John Blake

Some time ago as I was having my devotions, I read about "discipline". To some people the word "discipline" makes them think of a father punishing his stubborn child. To others, "discipline" gives the idea of "training".

Let's compare how the words "discipline" and "punishment" are made in Sign Language. Punishment with its hitting type motion gives the idea of spanking or another kind of physical punishment. Discipline is made with the idea of control the way a person might control the reins of a horse.

As parents it is so easy to punish a child, especially when we are tired and pushed to our limit. We may take out our frustrations in spanking the child. But the question is, "Will our punishment truly 'discipline' the child?

Someone has said that the real purpose of discipline must be to teach the child "self-control". The sign for discipline illustrates self-control. If our children are to learn self-control, we must not just say "no.". The child needs to learn "why" there is a better way. True discipline is to teach the child the really great principles of life. We need to emphasize what is positive and what is right.

Your little girl comes to you with her precious, but broken and dirty doll. You do not tell her all the bad things about the doll. If you tell her you are going to take her doll away, she may hug the doll tighter. Say nothing about her old doll, but give her a box with a fabulous talking doll. Then she will accept the new doll as you explain the things the new doll can do. She will be interested in the new doll and forget the old broken doll. She will accept the new doll because you talked about the good and did not talk about the bad.

Talking about the good and saying as little as possible about the bad is good advice in all things. Some things do not appear that terribly bad, but how wonderful when we can show something better. Many things we watch on T. V., read in books, or eat are not that bad, but why not use what is better.

As parents, we must be learning real discipline in our lives. If we do not have discipline in our lives, how can we expect our children to have discipline?

Christ promises that as we surrender to Him, He will work with us for our own discipline. The Holy Sprit will give us power to become the same as Christ. Christ often lets us have trials that will help us learn discipline. Let's ask Christ for the power to become the same as Christ in character. Then we need to let Christ do what He must do to help us learn the discipline of life that we need.

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