Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Parenting is hard work. It’s easy to just leave the difficult task for leading and disciplining to our kids’ school teachers, sports coaches, and to just leave them to grow and learn on their own. To some degree, kids do need to learn from their own experiences without us interfering at every minor event, but they definitely also need direction and leadership.
The Bible is consistent in pointing out that the human heart is born into a sinful nature. Not a single one of us is without sin. We don’t have to learn it. We just have to be and we’ll find our way to sin. A child left to his or her own way will choose self because it’s what people do. Only with correction and guidance will they know right from wrong.
“The rod” doesn’t mean we have to physically discipline our children. The point is redirection. What’s most important is forming character, not just compliance. Discipline is not punishment. It’s not about doling out consequences because an act has been committed so much as it’s about helping our children to not make the same choice in the future. Punishment in and of itself just going to produce adults who don’t do wrong because they fear what will happen if they do. Remove the consequences and they’re free to do as they please. Discipline, on the other hand, develops the character of someone who doesn’t do wrong because it’s wrong.Do you see the difference?
A child who doesn’t have guidance will become an adult who makes choices based on the wrong reasons. Real character is forged over time through discipline and correction. We’ve got to guide our kids to know why wrong is wrong and right is right. Following the example of Jesus is more than a series of rules and steps to walk blindly. Understanding why He lived life the way He did is important for us as parents and for our kids.