Most of the parents in the neighborhood where I grew up were disciplinarians. Children were expected to be in their own yard by the time the streetlights came on in the evening. Chores varied by household, but all of us kids had them. Some pulled weeds and helped mow their yards, others hung clothes on backyard lines, and those of us with pets were responsible for their care.
In our home, each of us kids had assigned chores: dishes, dusting, helping in the garden. We always had a curfew, and trouble at school meant more trouble at home!
At the time, some or our rules and consequences for breaking them seemed burdensome, especially when a friend’s parents were more flexible in their expectations. Things were not always fair, but “life isn’t fair” was the answer to that complaint!
Looking back, I have a thankful heart towards my parents for their wisdom, love, and protection. I certainly missed out on some of the fun at the time, but I also missed the consequences when fun took a wrong turn. I am also thankful for the neighborhood parents who cared enough to keep an eye on us when we were playing outside. They taught us to handle our disagreements respectfully, to enjoy our friendships, and they wouldn’t hesitate to talk with our mother if they had a concern about our behavior.
Discipline can sometimes be delegated to a back corner when we become adults. We tend to forget that God disciplines those He loves no matter their age or position. And just like in our childhood experiences, it isn’t pleasant at the time. God lovingly warns us that it won’t be:
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
Quiet growth and grace are the fruit of a heart trained by discipline. The choice belongs to each of us—choose to trust in God’s discipline, always done in love.