Saturday, November 6, 2010

What Gentle Discipline is Not, Continued Again :-)

Gentle discipline is not something that occurs only when unacceptable behavior manifests itself. I remember as a child, and even as a teenager, shuddering when I heard the term "discipline". To me, "discipline" meant punishment. It was something I tried hard to avoid.

Gentle, grace-based, discipline, recognizes that to discipline means to teach, not to punish for wrong behavior. When I started studying the true meaning of discipline in the Bible, I went through a real paradigm shift in my understanding of discipline. Previously, discipline was something I imagined I'd "administer" to stop wrong behavior. But I began to understand that discipline was something that should occur all day, every day, because it meant that I was teaching.

Gentle discipline, for the Christian, means that all day, every day, I am to be teaching my little guys. I am to teach him right from wrong. I am to teach him how to cope with problem situations he will encounter. I am to teach him appropriate ways to interact with other children. I am to teach him how to be safe. Most importantly, I am to teach him, both by words and by example as an authority in his life, who God is.

Gentle discipline, then, is ongoing, not sporadic. It is not always pleasant for our children, but it teaches them that discipline is the process of learning. Hopefully, when they hear that God disciplines His children, they will eagerly embrace God's teaching and training.

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