We must give our children both vision and discipline, Our lives must speak with more than words

The rod and reproof give wisdom,

but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

When the wicked increase, transgression increases,

but the righteous will look upon their downfall.

Discipline your son, and he will give you rest;

he will give delight to your heart.

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,

but blessed is he who keeps the law.

By mere words a servant is not disciplined,

for though he understands, he will not respond.

Proverbs 29

This is a most famous passage, and often it is parceled out and used in short sections, but when looked at in context, there are some even  more remarkable tools for us to use in training our children, and in staying on course in our own journey.

I am a visionary in many ways, I thrive on planning, looking forward, thinking long term. If I am not at a place where I feel like I can be projecting in some way, I can feel like I will perish, which is exactly how the King James Version translates the passage on vision, “For without a vision, the people perish”. I totally get that.

I like the translation of casting off restraint as well, it is so accurate, if we have not light or path to follow, we will just begin to do whatever seems right in our own eyes.  So it is with children. If they are not given a direct vision, a path for their lives with understanding of what underlies it, they will wander, cast off restraint and in time they may perish.

It is the rod of correction and discipline, and the words of instruction and reproof that we give to our children in love that bring them the wisdom they need to get on and stay on the path that leads to life. When I looked at this today, I saw the joining of the need for both correction, instruction and vision all coming together in ways I have previously overlooked.

Yesterday morning I was watching a sermon on dvd with all of my children, it was a command performance for all 6, including the younger set for whom the message was over the head. I am working to train them to listen and to just absorb whatever wisdom they can.  The 3 year old was not that into it, and was wandering around, I was correcting him in a somewhat frustrated tone as I was doing some other multi-tasking at the same time as listening myself.

He asked me “Why are we watching this”?  he was looking for vision, for instruction, for the path to follow, for the big WHY, to be laid out for him. I looked at him and said “Well, we need to know what is going on in God’s Kingdom and what we are supposed to do as our part in it.”   He was not totally impressed with that answer, again a bit above the head, but I am going to follow up with him on it and give him some more insights as we move along the path.

Another tidbit from the above section of scripture is:

By mere words a servant is not disciplined,

for though he understands, he will not respond.

Often, we really do need more than just words to cause us to respond. As I think of this in regard to training my children, I recognize how imperative it is that I DO SOMETHING, not just talk them to death, which can be a real temptation and snare some days.  They want to see what I am doing and where my actions are leading in order to decide if they want to follow in my footsteps.

So challenging as I often fear I falter before their eyes and struggle to get back up when I am fumbling with my failure.

This portion is a great motivator and reminder:

Discipline your son, and he will give you rest;

he will give delight to your heart.

This truly is the desire of my heart, to have children who are disciplined, who give me peace and rest and not conflict and turmoil and who bring delight to my heart, to the heart of  God and to those around in need of people who are as such.

So, I press on, and encourage you to seek God for vision, for wisdom and for the insight to train your children in the way they should go.



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