Like most new parents, I constantly find myself wondering what I should do in response to certain situations. Other times, the answer is obvious. When Ethan was seventeen months old, he, in a fit of boredom, charged and hit me with a book. My reaction probably was not typical of a parent just assaulted though- I erupted with laughter! The book he hit me with was Dare to Discipline by Dr. Dobson. I decided that it was time to read it.
It is truly funny how sometimes the solution presents itself. Ethan, in that one action, asked for what he indeed needed. We all need discipline because, in fits of boredom, we are not prone to make the right decision, just like my little one. As adults we just become more sophisticated. We become complacent about whom we need to be as imitators of Christ.
Growth is fundamental in the Christian life. To go without it is to accept complacency, which plagued the church in Lasodicea as described in Revelation 3:16 "...because you are lukewarm... I will spit you out of My mouth." Not so pretty. Scripture goes on to say in the first part of Revelation 3:19, "Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline..."God loves us so much that He desires what is best for us and sometimes it is not pleasant or even clearly understandable, like Job's situation in the Old Testament. Just as truly loving parents do not allow their children to do whatever they wish, God molds us with discipline. Parents wish to teach their children so they will avoid things that will hurt them and God offers us trials to produce growth so that we will be lacking in nothing according to James 1:2-4. God knows what we need best. Attitude is crucial when it comes to discipline. Sadly, attitudes toward hardships in life can get in the way of getting the most out of them. If our desire is to grow into Christ-likeness through the trials in our lives, our attitude needs to be in line.
It has been about three years since the book incident and Ethan has been doing an incredible job with discipline. It is so exciting as a parent to see him grow, learn and mature. While he still resists it in some ways (like wanting to play video games all day!), he does so much without being asked and I absolutely adore him. When he is older though, I definitely plan to get a lot of mileage out of the book incident! I know he'll laugh about it too!