By Vestal Chaffin
In former articles we have talked about the sphere of operation of the wife and mother in relation to the home. We have talked about the responsibility of the husband and father to provide for his family. In this article we want to talk about the environment and discipline in the home.
Not only will the proper environment in the home have its reflection in the lives of the children, but will reflect itself in their usefulness in service to God. The Bible clearly demonstrates this in the life of Timothy. He had been taught to respect God and his word, by his mother and grandmother. They were both women of great faith in God. Paul referred to them in this manner: “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that in is thee, which dwelt first in they grand-mother Lois, and in thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that is in thee also’ (2 Tim. 1:5). Paul said concerning Timothy, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). Why had Timothy known the Scriptures from his childhood? Simply because his mother and grandmother had taught him! When your son or daughter reaches manhood or womanhood can it be said they have known the Scriptures from their childhood? No doubt the teaching and training given Timothy by his mother and grandmother in his early years, was the determining factor in his being a Christian, and a faithful gospel preacher. The home always has been and will continue to be the place where permanent and durable impressions are made.
What a tremendous responsibility parents have resting upon them to teach and train their children for eternity! Oh, yes, we spend large amounts of money to educate and train our children for this world and its pursuits. But how much time, energy and money are you spending to educate, train and prepare your children for eternity? Things of this world are for just a short time, and will perish with using; but things that we do in preparing our children for eternity will be enduring and lasting, and may determine their eternal destiny. Parents, think seriously of your responsibility in making your home what God would have it be.
We are living today in a permissive age – an age where little restraint is placed upon children and young people in the home. It is indeed amazing to behold how parents in the last few decades have fallen for the pseudo-psychology that a child must never be told that he “can’t” do a thing. Also included in this false psychology is the idea, that you must not under any circumstance whip or spank a child, for you might hurt his personality. Even some members of the church have fallen for these “doctrines of devils.” Oh, I know the Bible says, “fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged” (Col. 3:21). But I also know, that the Lord requires children to obey and honor their parents (Col. 3:20; Eph. 6:1-2).
When discipline is mentioned in relation to the home, about the first thing that many people think about is the rod. There are two kinds of discipline namely, instructive and corrective. When the proper “instructive” discipline is applied in the early years of a child, there is not too much danger of him becoming “discouraged” when the proper “corrective” discipline is applied in later years. Most parents do not begin to discipline their children early enough. After they have grown older and have not had to endure restraint, then when it is applied by the parents, it is naturally resented.
I am now considered to be an old preacher and, I have been a rather close observer of many families and homes. During my over fifty years of preaching the gospel, I have been called a number of times, to talk to some stubborn and rebellious child, and in many cases a delinquent father and mother. In many of these cases, the parents failed to apply the proper discipline to the child early enough. They waited too late to apply too little. They simply did not make “little Johnny” or “little Mary” mind them when they were small, and now it is too late. They loved their child too much, so they say, to correct him when he did things he ought not to have done. Such is a false love for the child. For it is absolutely contrary to the teaching of God’s word. Listen: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Prov. 13:24).
Fathers, mothers, the way you train your child in those early and impressionable years may very well determine his attitude toward authority all the days of his life. Don’t wait too long to start the proper discipline. God said concerning Abraham, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (Gen. 18:19). Abraham had proved himself to be faithful to God, hence God could say, “I know him that he will command his children and his household after him.” What would God say about you in reference to commanding your children? Would you be pleased if your children followed after you? If your children are no more faithful when they reach a mature age than you are, would you be proud of them? Parents, be assured that you are setting an example before your child, whether you are faithful or unfaithful.
God has said, “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying” (Prov. 19:18). This is important in preparing your child to honor his father and mother in later years. Corrective discipline is absolutely necessary in the life of every child. “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell” (Prov. 23:13-14).
No, I am not a heartless reprobate! I love children, and a home without them is hardly complete. But a home with children who are resentful, rebellious, and rude to their parents, is a sad spectacle indeed. Such children need to be warned that such attitudes and actions on their part puts them in the same class of sinners as “fornicators,. . . covetousness, . . . murder, . . . haters of God” (Rom. 1:2930), and they shall suffer the wrath of God.
It is the grave and solemn obligation of parents to, “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov.22:6). And to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph.6:4). When these two verses are complied with, happiness will characterize the home, and souls will be trained and prepared for eternity. May God help parents everywhere to realize and recognize their responsibility and to fulfill it in making their home what God would have it be. For if we forget God and his law, he has said, “I will also forget thy children” (Hos. 4:6). Parents think seriously about the way you are conducting your home.
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 24, pp. 744-745
December 17, 1992