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:
We felt like this shot at parenting five kids is more for Alex and I. We haven’t arrived yet in our parenting journey but we felt like it was a process to build our character more than our kids’. While disciplining kids is a matter of choice for any parent, we chose to discipline them in an atmosphere of love and assurance. In other words, discipline is not a willy-nilly flailing of the rod or any object at them to hurt them. At home, we made sure discipline is done to restore them from wrong, not woefully spite them for doing wrong.
This is where my husband and I entered the trenches. It takes self-mastery, self-control and discipline on our part as parents not to let our surge of emotions like anger take the better part of us. It was, for us the hardest to master in acting out the pre-determined consequence of stepping out of the boundaries we set to protect them. This is where our kids learned obedience and disobedience. This same battleground is also where we, their growing up parents learned self-control or lack of it, and its consequence once we don’t obey and align ourselves with God’s precept of developing self-control.
At home, discipline is a tool to shepherd the hearts of our kids to be shaped towards desiring and pursuing principles outlined in God’s word. “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8, ESV)
If our kids’ hearts are not directed and shepherded towards these at a young age, the unfortunate flip side is also true when kids grow up by default. We expect a darkening of their hearts, their minds , and their desires where anything in the world, even the worse crap will be accepted by them as the standard. It will be as if the powers of the black witch has cast a dark, evil spell in their inner man which will lead them to do anything they fancy even if common sense dictates it will destroy them.
Our journey in disciplining our kids by shepherding their hearts towards what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise turned out to be not for pilgrims who could always opt out of the path once the trek becomes difficult and all elements converge to be adversarial to the journey. Just as our parenting is our own hearts’ boot camp, shepherding our kids’ hearts also means we need all the grace God can supply so we could walk our talk and finish strong, holding our kids’ hands down the finish line.
Meantime, the hard work of shepherding their hearts continues. (To be continued)*** –Annabelle Bangsoy