Years ago, a famous line was uttered, “Shake it, Don’t Break it…”, instructing the listeners to party hard on the dance floor. In this, is an important truth that we want to address in this blog, that is control.
Though one may believe their main goal is to gain control of their child, before that is gaining and maintain control of oneself. In our efforts to gain control of our children, we must not loose control of ourselves. In a conversation, Dr. Jeanine Wilson said, “our response to our children is built out of our fears.” It is this fear, that can consume us, causing us to over react and go over board in our efforts to correct our children.
In addition to our fear, we have to address a wide range of emotions, including anger. There are times when our frustration and anger is roused with the actions of our children. Much like our Lord, we hold our children to the standard set by the name that our children possess and in doing so, must make sure that we are not consumed by our anger and frustrations, sinning in the process. Abuse of power, or power administered without grace and mercy will eventually result in rebellion, dissension and rejection.
In each person, lies a breaking point, which can be reached if one keeps shaking past what is often an unmarked point that must be sensed by the one doing the disciplining. For clarity, it might be best to define “disciplining” as “shaping”. As opposed to “Shake it”, we propose, “Shape it!” As a parent, we have been entrusted with a valuable gift; our children. Our Lord describes Himself as a potter. He is one that has an ideal end, shape and purpose in mind; taking His time to make sure that the pottery formed is shaped with the gentle but firm hands. As we admire God’s workmanship in our lives, we can all verify that He is still in the process of shaping us at ages 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70+ and with His grace of longevity, so will we.
Our children are born with unique personalities which we must see as a gift from God. And though it is our job to remove the folly from their lives, shaping without love could result in the breaking of ones will and the marring of ones esteeming and person hood. Our goal should to be good stewards over our children. We are to forge a solid moral foundation, and to mold their their character to be like the image of Christ, without crushing their characteristics in the process. An independent child needs to know when to ask for help. An outspoken/argumentative child may be destined to be a lawyer. In our efforts to get them to conform, we can break it.
We must not abandon our responsibility to discipline our children, but as our Heavenly Father models, must chastise in a way that corrects, but shows mercy, grace and love. We must remember that shaping when done quickly leaves many flaws, but the one is patient, gentle and firm will present unto the Lord something that is perfectly reflective of the image He uniquely made.
Proverbs 23:13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. … shall not die. Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.