“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” (Proverbs 13:24)
I had no clue what it was to raise children until I became a mother. Oh, I had lots of preconceived notions about my imaginary children: they would be well behaved, throw no tantrums, and would be the most brilliant, top of the class students. I noticed that all my fantasies (which is what they proved to be) around parenthood, veered towards perfection. Then I had children! They were perfect (just for a little while), 10 fingers and 10 toes, with perfect Apgar scores; well at least they passed all the tests for wellness before I could bring them home. It was only once they were home that I saw their imperfections.
As they grew, one of their first words was “no.” Though my babies were cute, they each had behaviors and personalities that needed molding. When I heard an inappropriate “no,” I knew the Bible was correct when it said, “foolishness is bound up in a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him,” (Proverbs 22:15).
I could see how an inappropriate defiance could create greater problems later on. In no way was I thinking that I needed to apply the rod to my babies, but it became clear that it was my job as a parent to curb problematic behaviors because I loved my children and wanted the best for them. Parenting was more than just feeding, burping, bathing, and admiring their cuteness. Disciplining was also part of the job.
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