If you are like I was, and I’m betting you are, when your kids misbehave you’re tempted to look away, ignore it, pretend you didn’t see it. When they misbehave in public have you ever acted like you didn’t even know who they belonged to?
Sometimes it seems impossible to muster the strength to deal with it one more time.
But Proverbs makes a promise for worn out parents who do rise to the occasion and muster the energy to discipline “one more time”. If we dig deep and find the energy to rebuke when we want to ignore, here is what we are promised.
Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue. Proverbs 28:23
Notice we are not promised we will “gain favor” today or tomorrow. It may be years or decades but at some point in time, “in the end”, our children will come to appreciate the effort we put into caring more about their character than about our comfort.
I can tell you from experience there’s no greater joy than seeing your children passionately serving the Savior – even going beyond where you were able to take them in the things of the Spirit.
But a child’s natural “bent” is not toward God. We are all, by nature, pulled toward sin. Your loving rebukes, attentive discipline and encouraging words (versus a “flattering tongue”) can bend them toward the Lord. Like a young tree pulled upright and guided to grow in the proper direction, you can direct your children toward the heavenly and away from the earthly.
But like the young sapling continually pulls at the restraining twine designed to point it in the proper direction, your children will naturally “kick against the goad”.
Aren’t you glad to know that your loving – but seemingly never ending – rebuking will not destroy them? You have God’s promise that in the end your loving rebukes will produce favor for you – and for them as they learn to become productive members of society and the kingdom of God.
NOTE: Nagging is not rebuking. Rebuking carries consequences if disobeyed. Nagging, being a dripping faucet, is when we continually threaten and cajole but never, or reluctantly and sporadically, follow through with consequences. Children learn quickly to tune out that sort of noise. State what needs to happen and then take action if it does not. It is the action that motivates, not your irritated whining at them.
Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul. Proverbs 29:17