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:
One of the issues we discuss with our kids is this thing about guarding their hearts. Their algorithmic speed generation seems to generate data nobody could keep up with. Unfortunately, only the crap data that comes in lewd visuals are easily accessible, pops up anytime online and somehow has a way of getting lodged in the human mind like an unseen fungus. It grows well in the shade of darkness, gets bigger when unexposed to the light. Since we believe at home that discipline is pro-active, it starts with what the Bible in the book of Proverbs 4:23 describes as “guarding the heart with all diligence for it is the wellspring of life.” For us at home, discipline does not start with punishment. It starts and ends with love.
At home, we start with encouraging our children to have a vision, for God’s word says in its wisdom that “without a vision, people perish.” My husband Alex teaches our kids that they must live for a purpose higher than themselves. This way, they will choose not to be distracted by things that will not serve that purpose. These things might even be good on the surface but it is not the best to accomplish the higher purpose they will throw their lives into.
Second, Alex tells our kids to choose not to disqualify themselves in the race of their lives. “What disqualifies you from pursuing your calling in life are engaging in sexual immorality, ungodly relationships, stealing, lying—sin.” So he encourages our kids to keep themselves pure by engaging themselves with God’s word and prayer, applying what they learn from God’s truth, choosing what they read and watch on digital media and print media.
Alex and I also deliberately help our kids to immerse themselves in things and ways to enrich their hearts, minds, and bodies toward a Biblical principle from Philippians 4:8—”Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” This principle also acts as a checklist not just for our kids but for me and Alex as well to counter check if what we are immersing ourselves and our lives into are right by God’s standards.
Third, this wise Biblical principle admonishing our kids and us as parents to guard our hearts is a learning process. We must not be discouraged if we mess it up big time. Yes, there’s definitely God’s grace to restore us when this happens as we seek it with humility. But it is wise, as we learned at home, to prevent the heartbreak of messing up when we simply obey God’s word, much like when our kids simply obey Mom and Dad and spare themselves of the consequences of their actions when they disobey.
God gives His instructions as a loving father who desires for His children to have the best and experience the abundant life He promised when we simply obey.*** Annabelle Bangsoy