I have fallen into a bad habit. One that I realized several weeks ago and immediately knew I needed to blog about it, but just didn't want to. I knew that if I posted it for the world to see, I'd be accountable for changing it, and I've just been too lazy. But God simply won't let me get away with it anymore.

I believe God has given parents the job of preparing our kids to follow Him in adulthood. While they are children, they trust in, obey, and depend on their parents. If we can properly teach them these concepts while they are young, they will make an easier transition into trusting, obeying, and depending on God when they are older. The target Bible verse I use comes from Galatians 5.
"22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
In my mind, my disciplining is to develop these characteristics in my children. So when Patriot throws a tantrum because he can't have candy for breakfast, I put him in time-out and explain to him that we need to have patience and wait for an appropriate time to eat candy. We also need to have self-control when we are disappointed and respond appropriately. Or, when he argues with me about a decision I've made, he receives a pinch and I explain that he needs to trust Mommy to know what's right (faithfulness). In these ways, I'm discipling his heart.

Here comes the bad habit I have to break: I have been disciplining his behavior rather than discipling his heart. There is a fine line between the two, but I hope you can see the difference. Disciplining the behavior is, in my opinion, the easy way out. I toss him into time out for not sharing with his brother, but don't follow up with the discussion about love and kindness.
The long-term affects are that he eventually learns the right way to act, but he may not learn the right way to be.

I think I fell into this bad habit with Azlan's birth. I was tired and distracted with the baby and simply stopped taking the time to disciple Patriot's heart. Then, as we grew out of the newborn stage and into baby stage, Azlan still isn't old enough to understand heart issues like joy and peace, so I can only discipline his behavior right now (knowing that "No, you cannot touch the phone" will lead to a self-control lesson in a few months). Now I have teach myself to discipline the two boys differently according to their level of understanding.

Looks like I'm learning a hard lesson in self-control!
1 Response
  1. Geron Says:

    wow, i love this post. i cried reading it too. i may link to it in our blog if it's ok.

    i think i really needed to hear this today.