Learning to Discipline Children by Shepherding their Hearts

First in a Series

Learning to Discipline Kids by Shepherding their Hearts  is a three part series. To read the first part and second part, you can click on the following links:

part 2       part 3

Our parenting, much like our kids, grew up through seasons and years. And still is now. I felt like a pre-schooler in  the school of parenting when our first child was six years old and she was first entrusted to a stranger in school. Thankfully, her teacher in primary was as loving towards her and  her classmates as we did at home. It was tough the first day, more for me than for our little Karin. She didn’t cry. I did. Talk about a pre-schooler in the school of parenting! And oh, fast forward to her first move away from home to college about two years ago. Guess who cried his heart out  this time as if he is losing someone—her dad! So see? Parenting is really more for adults to grow up than kids. Kids are real troopers—they soldier on, they eventually grow up. But their paths are also strewn with dangers, deception, and traps. This is why Alex and I intentionally decide  to set up our kids towards gaining Godly character and culture more than a grade and performance-oriented perspective. This way, their hearts are shepherded early on to choose what is right even if nobody is looking. Yes, our kids are definitely not perfect as their parents are as flawed but we are grateful for the grace God gives us daily to live, to overcome, to make decisions, to parent, and to encourage our kids specially in tough times when joy would rather be zapped and sink into oblivion.

Shepherding our five kids’ hearts is not easy as each one is unique and no one came with an operations manual. So  we turned to the all-knowing God who “fearfully and wonderfully created them in the womb.” Like the man Manoah in the Bible, we also asked God to teach us, give us wisdom on how to raise each kid in the way each one should go so each one’s life will be maximized, live abundantly as God’s word promised and fulfill each one’s calling and destiny.

It’s definitely easy and neat to quote Bible verses and paste them on any parenting advice piece but from our experience, applying Biblical principles in disciplining our children by shepherding their hearts can get quite messy. No, it doesn’t look like those serene, well-scripted, full of laughter and joy family weekend advertisements on TV and digital media. Nothing of projected Hollywood nor local showbiz family celebrity image handling could approximate the trenches of  disciplining kids. You don’t just go out, hold hands with your kids for the paparazzi and call it a day of parenting. Nope. Just like house plumbing, it is the unseen, dirty work that proves to be the most difficult. (To be continued)*** – Annabelle Bangsoy