Sometimes the Bible’s directness takes us by surprise. If my focus is to raise my child using God’s discipline and instruction, then my words will be few, clear, pleasant, direct, convicting, and building. The more I talk the more I run the risk of muddying the waters with my opinions. Proverbs 18:2 is a humbling reality to those of us who use many words:
Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.
Ouch, at least for me and maybe some of you as well. The last thing I should want for my children is for them to conform to my standards. If your child has been unkind or selfish, then this is what he needs to hear. It is not helpful to launch into a long impromptu monolog reminding him of all the times he has been selfish and unkind the last six months. When you have taken the time to assess the problem that has happened you can say something like this:
‘When you refused to play with your brother with your new toy you were being selfish and unkind. You were thinking of yourself and not your brother. How does God say you should treat one another?”
“Uh, that I should treat my brother the way that I want be treated.”
“Exactly! Okay, let’s address the discipline issue so you can get back to having a good time with your brother. That’s a great truth to remember isn’t it?”
I know things don’t always go this smoothly. But this should be your goal. This example assumes ongoing training with these two children. Notice the parent took control of the situation by using pleasant, direct language. Often our insistence in airing our own opinions makes things appear that the reason for discipline is our idea rather God’s. Avoid foolish parenting, put aside your opinions and use the brevity of the Word to point yourself and your children to Christ.