Going Beyond “The Rod”
Sometimes as Christians in our discussions and books on parenting, it appears as if we base our entire parenting philosophy around 5 scriptures in Proverbs that talk about “the rod.” A discussion of those scriptures is for another time – many others have posted different ideas of what these scriptures actually mean. But, Biblical interpretation aside, I feel it is foolish to place so much emphasis on 5 verses, when there is an entire Bible FULL of chapters and passages all about how we are to relate to each other. Many times we don’t automatically think about applying these scriptures directly to our relationship with children. But they DO apply, because a child is a person as fully deserving of love and respect as any adult.
“I believe that God designed us to begin our lives as babies, totally dependent and vulnerable, because He intended the family to be the setting in which His love was modeled.” - Floyd McClung, The Father Heart of God
Isn’t that amazing? God designed the family to be a place where His love is modeled to children. And more than that, He designed children in such a way that their primary way of learning is through modeling. When God’s love is modeled to a child, the child’s concept of love from and for God will not be abstract, it will be real.
“Our job as parents is to reflect God to our children so they will want to know and love Him. “ –Dr. William Sears
So dive in with me, will you? As an example of what I’m talking about, let’s look at Romans 12:15-18
“Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”
When I read this verse it makes me think of comforting my children – when they’re happy I am to rejoice with them. ”Watch this, mommy!” one shouts as he swings across the monkey bars again for the 20th time – be happy with those who are happy – that’s the appropriate response.
What about when one cries? He’s sad, he’s disappointed, things didn’t go his way, or he’s hurt, or he’s so angry all he can do his cry - weep with those who weep – comfort him, that’s the appropriate response. The Bible tells me exactly what to do!
Live in harmony with each other. What can I do that will help us all live in harmony? Keeping calm, not shouting, controlling my responses, being filled with more love and patience will bring harmony to my home.
Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. This speaks to me about enjoying my kids. It tells me to get on the floor and play with them – wrestling, laughing, kicking the ball, giggling. Putting my distractions, my desires, my boredom, my pride aside, making eye-contact and enjoying my kids.
And don’t think you know it all! How many times do I enter a situation where my children are arguing or fighting, and I jump in with the immediate answer. I “know” exactly what will fix the problem. Do I take the time to listen? To help them problem solve? To find out what’s really going on, how each person feels? Or do I just think I know it all because I’m bigger?
Never pay back more evil with evil. Hurting people for any reason to me is evil. When our children behave in an evil way, we should not pay them back with more evil.
So that’s just one verse dissected and applied to our parenting. Hopefully you are beginning to see that being a sensitive parent will help you be a more sensitive Christian. And it will help our children learn about the character of God, laying the foundation for their own personal relationship with God to grow and deepen.
I’ll be sharing some more scriptures, so keep watching!