Proverbs 29:15 — “The rod and reproof give wisdom:But a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”
Parenting is a 24-hour, 7-day a week job. The pressure of never being able to ‘clock out’ as parents can cause us to find ways to get a break. As a result, we too often leave our children to themselves. This is not saying that they cannot have times of playing and being ‘by
In the verse above, the opposite of leaving our children to themselves is to use the rod and reproof. This means that if we don’t want children to bring us shame and embarrassment, parents must invest much time and effort in correcting them (‘the rod’) and teaching them (‘reproof’).
Children are not naturally born with wisdom (see Prov 22:15). Wisdom is instilled through the deliberate effort of parents who are not afraid to punish and correct wrong behaviour. This often takes more courage and effort than just leaving children to themselves. It means we have to have tough conversations, that we have to have appropriate discipline, that we must be consistent, that we must talk to our children, that we must show them the truth of Scripture and the lies of this world.
So, here are some questions for us who are parents:
- How are we leaving our children to themselves too much? Do we know what they are reading, watching, discussing, and saying with their friends, on their phones, in their books, on the internet and the TV?
- Do we spend time teaching them from God’s Word and correcting
- Do we have the courage to consistently and appropriate punish them when they do wrong?
- What in our lives has made us too busy to have the time and strength to teach and correct our children?
Probably, the worst form of parenting is distant parenting. None of us ever get it right, but our failure should not be a lack of trying. Children will forgive us if we get it wrong, but to just give up and do nothing is something that is hard to cope with.
Be there. Be involved. Teach them. As Mrs. Incredible says to Mr. Incredible, ‘Bob, it’s time to engage!’ Watch the clip here.