Recently I began to play back in my mind how I interact with my children, especially when it comes to discipline. This is an area in which the Lord has been teaching me, so I have been aware of it over the past few years. I could picture the stern look that sometimes comes to my face as I interact with an offender.
I have brought this before the Lord, asking Him to teach me how to discipline without becoming emotionally involved. Steve has likened this process to a policeman giving a speeder a ticket. This is just part of his job. The policeman isn’t angry with the motorist; he isn’t frustrated with having to give a ticket; he doesn’t have an irritated tone in his voice; he just does his job. As a mom, that is how I have wanted to handle my discipline situations. My job is to teach and train my children. There will be times when this will involve discipline. If I expect my children to learn from training and teaching situations without ever needing discipline, then I am setting myself up for disciplining filled with negative emotions. If, on the other hand, I expect that discipline will also be a part of my mothering job, then I can have a better chance of handling it as the policeman does his job.
I have realized that I not only want to discipline without being negatively involved emotionally, but also choose to go a step further and be pleasant through the process. As I have tried this over the past two weeks, I have seen some positive results. One of my children even told me the other night that they liked it much better when I was happy when correcting them. There are some reasons why I think this may be. A pleasant attitude on my part while disciplining eases the tension of the situation. It relieves me of any negative feelings that I might take away with me and carry into the next interaction with that child. It shows honor and respect for the child. If Steve has to correct me on something, I want him to be pleasant with me; I owe my children the same courtesy.
Proverbs 16:21 says, “. . . the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.” During discipline, we want our children to learn from our instruction. Therefore, it would benefit us to heed God’s Word and choose to use sweet words. Our attitude and tone can cause our words to lose their pleasantness.
We often will not feel pleasant, so we have to choose to act pleasant. The Lord has been showing me this is a choice I can make. I do not have to act according to negative feelings. This choice is a part of taking my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ as 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells me to do. When I do make the choice to act pleasant despite feeling negative emotions, I find my feelings will begin to become positive too.
What about you? Can you think back to your recent interactions with your children? Are you looking at their faces? Are you smiling at them? Are you being pleasant with them? I pray each of us will choose to make our homes pleasant places by our pleasantness even when it is necessary to discipline. May God make us women who build our houses up rather than tearing them down with our own hands (Proverbs 14:1).