Returning to the Heart of Discipline

This month is bringing the harder days of parenting--days when the children wake too early, when fatigue coils around us a bit more tightly each hour, when tantrums have the power to bring a wave of anger or a rim of tears to my eyes. But the struggles are teaching me to reflect on my responses, particularly those that proved unhelpful. On occasion, when I put my children to bed, I have to apologize for my meanness and for reacting too harshly. I pray aloud that we can be more patient with one another.

  Weeping Willow by Claude Monet, 1919

Weeping Willow by Claude Monet, 1919

In these tougher periods, I revisit my views on discipline. In America, "discipline" is often a synonym for punishment, but historically, the meaning of discipline is tied more closely with training or teaching. Raising children to make wise choices is not something that can be forced, but sometimes I act exactly as if I can force my children into a mold of perfection. I forget that looking into their eyes often communicates more than harsh words; that a silly response can release the tension; that managing my own emotions is as important a lesson as anything I can say.

  Worship by Ferdinand Hodler, 1893

Worship by Ferdinand Hodler, 1893

So here I am again, reflecting on the heart of discipline, reminding myself that God is molding me into a better parent in His patient timing, without force or manipulation. He's walking this path of parenthood with me, grieving with me when I cry, rejoicing when I choose self-control and love over lesser choices. I'm grateful for the lessons, and continue to pray for strength and wisdom.

 

What are your struggles lately? What is your hope? Thank you for following this parenting journey with me.