Friday, June 29, 2012

Thoughts from Proverbs 29 on Child rearing

Proverbs 29:4   A king by justice establishes a land, but a man who takes bribes tears it down.

How does this apply to fathering? A father who allows children to bargain their way out of receiving justice is overthrowing his ‘land’ or ‘house.’

In what ways do children often offer “bribes?”
  1. I’ll never do it again – repeated indefinitely. Emotional bribery
  2. Threats or assertions that the child won’t/doesn’t love the parent because of discipline. Emotional bribery: offering affirmation of love in exchange for getting its own way.
  3. Threatening or throwing tantrums. Emotional / Psychological bribery: I won’t embarrass you if you do what I want.

Proverbs 29: 15 Rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to itself / abandoned shames his mother.

The implications here are significant:
  1. Children are not good self-raisers.
  2. They are not naturally good and will not turn out fine if left to themselves.
  3. The NASB’s “a child who gets his own way” suggests parental disengagement or pacification. This relates to Prov. 29:4. Regardless of the way or reason for leaving a child unshaped by the rod and reproof, the result is parental shame.
  4. If you are not using rod and reproof on your children, you are abandoning them to your own shame. Caveat: "the rod" in the hand of a loving parent is a tool for restorative discipline; in the hand of an angry parent, it easily becomes a tool of injustice and cruelty.