My earliest discipline attempt as a parent came when my son was about two years old. He was in my lap and we were playing peekaboo. It was a blissful moment until he slapped me extremely hard across my face. I remember the sting brought tears to my eyes and I was stunned. In an instant I had my “serious mommy” face on and I took his offending little hand into my own. I had learned a trick that you can “spank” without hurting, but still make a loud pop noise. So I did just that, while these very words came out of my mouth: “Don’t hit!!”
Congratulations to me. I had just spanked my two year old’s hand while telling him not to hit.
Thus is my capability as the human disciplinarian to three children. I think this parental responsibility is one of the most challenging for a Christian parent. How do we model and execute forgiveness while correcting and punishing our children’s behavior? I listened to a speaker at our church one time tell the story of his inebriated teenaged son who got behind the wheel of his car and totaled it. The speaker immediately bought his son a new car. He believed that this response would imitate the radical grace of our Heavenly Father, not unlike the response of the Prodigal Son’s father. I left that class even more confused about my role as a parent who is also a believer.
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