Fatherhood Reflections: “Compassionate Discipline”
“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.” (Psalm 103:13-18 ESV)
Following up on yesterday’s post, one counterintuitive way of showing compassion for your children is through discipline. Remembering your children’s frame includes establishing family rules under God for what is safe and dangerous, good and evil – and discipline needs to accompany dangerous or evil actions.
Stop asking your children if they want discipline (“Do you want a timeout? Do you need a spanking?” etc.). It is your job to know the answer to that question and to compassionately act based on that answer. Otherwise, such questions are either a rhetorical threat (which is manipulative and abusive) or an abdication of the responsibility and authority instilled in the office of “parent.”
Neither of these is compassionate. Discipline your children according to the Lord’s commandments, so that His steadfast love and righteousness might extend even to their children’s children.