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Don’t Walk On By
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. 2 TIMOTHY 3:16
General Norman Schwarzkopf, the commander of operations for Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the early 1990s, exercised this simple premise of authority: A leader never walks by a mistake.
I think he’s got a point, not only in how to lead a military unit, but also in how we raise our children. Barbara and I have often talked about how much easier it would be to ignore our children’s shortcomings. We naturally wish to avoid the discomfort of confronting and correcting their selfish, sinful ways.
Some parents default to a soft, indulgent love, thinking their kids will grow up fine on an exclusive, pain-free diet of praise and permission. But the concept of “reproof ” that Paul used in the above certainly suggests pain.
“Reproof ” means pointing out a wrong, bringing someone to a place where he or she can admit what he or she has done. And there’s nearly always an element of pain involved in doing that.
Yet as writer James Litter has said, “One thought driven home is better than three left on base.” That’s really your assignment as parents: Drive home the key issues that need to be laid bare and exposed if your children are going to finish growing up. You must help them embrace these lessons while they’re young so that they won’t have to learn them in a much more painful way later on as adults.
Our culture today is rushed and weary. You may have so much going on that it’s difficult to slow down and address a defect in your child’s character. But if you’ve taken on the mantle of parenthood, you’ve also taken on the responsibility of bringing occasional pain into the life of each of your children—even as painful as it can be on you as a parent.
Of course, you can’t discipline for everything. But be honest: Are there some issues in your children’s lives that you may be deliberately overlooking? Evaluate one another as parents in this area.
Pray that God will bring conviction for any areas where you are allowing fear, laziness or indifference to determine your parenting style. Ask for strength.