There is an entire generation in first world countries that have no idea what true suffering promotes or costs. Children lack many of the basic characteristics that make them law abiding citizens and or hirable. Fear of a temper tantrum gives the smallest members of society power that was never intended for them to have. Feelings such as happiness are measured in moods and body language, and cause long lasting mental health problems such as narcissism. In a generation where waiting is problematic for emergency rooms, and fast food establishments, the line between patience and impatience is skewed. Triage means nothing to an impatient person suffering a headache, and bad moods can flare quickly. Some God given qualities such as compassion in a person if not coupled with wisdom and perseverance can be exploited and cause more damage than good in relationships.
A mother that has compassion on her child that is sad and inconsolable is not healthy when he is just faced with a moment of temporary displeasure. It is not Mom's job to make her child "happy." What is more important, is to help a child have be able to be thankful and appreciative when life doesn't go their way.
When compassion is perverted and suffering eschewed like a disease, God is the first victim of hate and charged with being wicked. Proverbs says Fear of the lord is the beginning of all knowledge and understanding. Fear of God is not an earthly fear, it is an understanding that God is the creator of all things and through him is the beginning of life. He created us, and has a perfect plan for us to be in relationship. He is just and fair and there are consequences to being out of his will.
As parents, many of us fail to be as unfailing in our love as God because of fear and or guilt. The bible says there is no fear in love, so when it comes to our children and discipline is needed, we need not fear the reaction of the child that needs it. Yet, all too often whisper lies from Satan himself will come in and bring up our past. That is where our true faith in God is tested. Have we confessed our sin to God? If so we have a promise...
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
We can move forward if we have repented and received freedom from that particular sin. Justbecause we have a past, it does not negate our responsibility to promote responsible living and thinking in our children. Fear can be stirred up because of many things, but our past that we have walked away from should not be one. That is, if we believe our bible that says "God forgives". Fear commonly can come if we have not dealt with negative parenting from our own childhood. Forgiveness needs to be given in our heart, and we need to be at peace the holy spirit will guide us when we have to stand our ground with our children and follow through with discipline. Children will cry, and protest and we fear that our children will have the same thoughts towards us as we did our parents. If our childhood was mostly positive, then we have a tendency to live up to this golden image of our parents and therefore will not sacrifice our reputation with the kids if it causes discomfort or suffering.
The other day, I heard my four year old screaming as if he was in pain. He and his older siblings were in the other room watching television. I asked what was going on. He came out with crocodile tears and his older sister came out as well. She informed methat they decided on another channel and he was mad. He looked distraught, I wanted to hug him and tell him it would be ok. I tried to explain no one else wanted to watch a car race around the circle. (that was what he was wanting to watch) He wasn't happy with that. I asked, "Should everyone always do what you want them to do?
He let out a big sob and said, "yes."
No child is going to choose selflessness without it first being taught and insisted upon.
The bible tells us, "foolishness is tangled up in the heart of a youth; the rod of discipline will drive it away from him." prov 22:15 Discipline incorporates much more than physical punishment. It involves enduring those moments when your child thinks they can't handle a hard task anymore. It means taking the time to ensure they follow through with a task, with diligence. The bible is a good guide to help us understand what is right living. It is the task master and drill sergeant. No one likes their drill sergeant. But, if a Drill Sgt. is not good at his job, you die because you were not prepared for battle. Recruits shoot at targets instead of people at first. Boot camp, where initial training for real battle takes place, is in a safe controlled environment. Boot camp and basic training exposes the mind, will, and body to similar situations soldiers will face in battle.
Childhood is the controlled safe environment that should expose children to situations they will face as an adult. Consider a chore, toy, friendship, or schoolwork as target practice. Real targets are your child's future employee, spouse, and children. Oh yes, their own children. If you think your giving everything to your child will spill over into your child doing the same for their kids, you are mistaken. If you have encouraged self gratification, it will thrive in conditions where younger dependent people are involved. A selfish adult will take advantage of a child. Anger or abuse will ensue if the selfish person's way is not given in to. Spiritually you could be a stumbling block if your child does not understand sacrifice.
Luke 9:24 If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?
This my friends, is hard enough for an adult, and is not any easier for a child. Practice makes perfect, and the more we let our children practice their selfless muscles, the better equipped they will be when faced with difficult employees, co-workers or neighbors. When trials come such as an unexpected pregnancy, convenience will not be chosen over life or difficulty. If their marriage is struggling after the honeymoon phase, love will have been rooted deep enough to weather the storms of temptation of divorce or adultery.
We are free to choose, but we are not free from the consequences. Parents are to mirror God, and God is just. Heb 12:5-6 MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.
Romans 5:3-5 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Maybeyou aren't concerned with your child having character because you think "they are a good kid. they don't get in trouble. " You let them slide if they do exhibit a minor character flaw or get in trouble. Maybe this next scripture will prompt you to think differently.
Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.
They might succeed on this side of heaven just fine, but there is a faithful God that will require we answer for even our secret thoughts. Let us help our children develop a love for his word because it is true and will not fail. Being disciplined on this side of heaven will allow us to not be ashamed, and be full of joy on the other.