October 28 – Gentle Persuasion

He who spares his rod [of discipline] hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines diligently and punishes him early. Proverbs 13:24 AMP

This morning, my boys and I loaded some calves. One was ready for the butcher and a couple of others were on their way to the vet for a little “male maintenance.” These calves were bottle-fed and have been handled much of their lives, so they move around rather tamely.

But when it comes time to load them in the trailer, persistent persuasion is necessary until the job is done.  My oldest son makes fun of me, respectfully, because I tend to lean toward a more gentle approach, while he’s all about the task at hand. He’s naturally gifted when it comes to farm and animal activities, but I am a dad. So, when it comes to using pressure, I have learned application requires a sensitivity to the will and nature of the individual. This is tantamount for a desired outcome that will be achieved regularly and successfully.

One description of discipline is controlled behavior resulting from such training. In other words, the word “rod” has as much to do with guidance and direction as it does corporal punishment. Diligence is the key to discipline (I totally believe this) because when I have been able to put the time in early on with my children, as they grow, guidance works a whole lot better. We can communicate because we have an understanding.

Fear is never what you want from anybody when you are training them, especially your kiddos. Unfortunately, because of misunderstandings of the broader insight of this Proverb, those who shy away from corporal punishment have tossed its wisdom aside thinking, “I am not going to whip my kid to make them mind. I don’t want them to be afraid of me.” I agree!

Discipline, however, is all about relationship and clear boundary lines. God designed our universe with absolutes and order. Therefore, if we navigate outside the realm of the absolute of gravity, things get dangerous in a hurry.

The same is true when little Johnny doesn’t abide by the absolute of mommy said “no” and tries to go down the steps by himself too soon and takes a tumble. For a while, mommy may have to use the rod of “holding little Johnny’s hand” a bit firm for a while so he doesn’t wiggle away until he truly understands how to go up and down without harm.

At the end of the day, discipline and training is this: yes, no, who’s in charge, and . . . I love you.

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