If you want to learn anything, have children. They will teach you things you'd never dreamed of!
We were talking in Sunday school class about discipline of children, and how it has changed since we were children. Our parents thought nothing of getting our attention with a swat to the seat of our britches. There was no slap on the wrist or time out chair then. Sometimes we had a separation period from the rest of the family or a sibling with whom we were at war. But correction was offered in ways that didn't always feel good. I'm not talking about child abuse. I'm not talking about beatings. I mean a smack on a clothed bottom that says, "Hey! It's time for a change in behavior". In those days, such correction did not land parents in jail or on lists of child abusers. We kids didn't have the options of turning our parents over to authorities for trying to make us law abiding, respectful people.
When our parents said, "this hurts you more than it hurts me", it very well could have. Who likes having to discipline a little person? Who can stand to hear their children's tears? But what would happen without correction? The Bible tells us in Proverbs that 'Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.' God speaks of correction in many ways through His word. It is because He loves us that He corrects us. It is because we love our children and care what kind of people they will become that we correct them.
As a young mother, I had an experience one day that taught me something that I haven't forgotten. My then four year old and I had had a particularly bad day. She was determined to avoid doing anything I'd told her to do that day, and seemed that she would not hear any instruction. All the talking was getting me no where, and because she was continually disobedient that day, in the end, she got my hand on her chubby little bottom. When we had our before bed prayers, I said, "Let's ask Jesus to help you be a better little girl tomorrow." My daughter answered, "and YOU a better Mommy!"
While some might think she was being disrespectful, I had to agree. I needed prayer to be a better Mommy. I still do. We all do. Our children are not born with instructions as to how to parent them. We seek the Lord, we read His word, we do the best we can, but we are not perfect parents, just as the kids aren't perfect. We need to be praying for our children, and each other's children. And we need to pray for one another as parents, and to ask our children to pray for us. This will help them in many ways. They will learn that we know we aren't in need of correction ourselves, that we desire to be good parents to them, and that we need to all pray for our family's needs. They will come to know, as they watch us admit to our short-comings and ask for God's help, that they, too, can do the same in their lives.
Lesson taught, lesson learned....just one of many that children have to offer.