Know Your Bible

VOL. 11                                                                                                                                                             April 29, 2012                                                                                                                                                                NO. 14


 Effective Discipline

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6). This verse, along with others, teaches the necessity of proper teaching of children. The are to be brought up "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:1-4). While many parents recognize their duty of training their children, some of them have a difficult time in effectively training or disciplining their children. Some parents throw up their hands in despair over even small children, normal children, saying, "I just can't do anything with him!" 

This article, by no means a proclamation that it's author can solve all problems, is intended to be a "how to" article, setting forth some practical principles that are, in my judgment, basic and essential to effective discipline. Please examine these thoughts carefully, and if they can help you, use them to the developing of good lives for your children. 

1. Discipline Begins In Infancy: -- Waiting till a child is 4 or more years old to begin some of the basics of discipline creates severe problems. 

2. Discipline Must Be Impartial: -- Consider the problems caused by Jacob's apparent favoritism among his sons (Gen. 37). While one child may have a more appealing manner, parents must not allow such to excuse his misbehavior, while punishing other children for the same misdeed. 

3. Effective Discipline Must Be Consistent: -- This seems to be one of the greatest weaknesses with some parents. It is confusing to a child's sense of obedience to punish him one day for doing what he is allowed to do on other days. 

Our "no's" and "yes'es" should be as consistent as we can make them. Parents who fluctuate between severity and laxity with their children will have problems with their behavior. 

4. Effective Discipline Should Contain Incentives: -- Though it is not always possible or necessary, children should be given an understanding, whenever possible, of the values and goals of doing assigned tasks or behaving in a prescribed manner. This gives them something to work for, a desirable thing to accomplish. 

5. Effective Discipline Must Be Authoritative: -- When a parent gives a command, he should expect proper compliance, and the child should clearly understand that he is expected to obey. When parents command and allow children to ignore those commands, they are actually teaching their children that obedience is not necessary. This applies to minor instructions like "Pick up your shoes," as well as to weightier matters. Parents, mean what you say, and back it up with the corrective measures necessary to enforce it. 

6. Effective Discipline Must Begin With Self: -- Parents who do not discipline themselves are in no position to effectively train their children. How can one teach his children the ruinous nature of bad habits while he indulges in them himself? How can he teach his children obedience to the law when he habitually violates laws? Self-control is essential for parents to effectively teach their children. 

7. Effective Discipline Must Be Based On Good Judgment And Common Sense: -- Do not the Scriptures stress wisdom, discretion, and reasonableness? Technical know-how must be tempered and used with sensibility. Extremism begets extreme behavior. If one wants his children to behave calmly, to have level dispositions, he must not be explosive and violent himself. 

8. Love Is The Bond Of Perfectness: -- All the efforts of discipline should be motivated by a healthy, godly love, as children are taught the love of God and man. Thus they should learn that obedience is a demonstration of love, just as proper discipline is a demonstration of love.

---Gilbert Alexander

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The Next Generation


As Solomon looked at life under the sun, he observed that "One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever" (Eccl. 1:4). With the passing of each generation, knowledge, values and even faith are handed down from the older to the younger. Paul thanked God for the "genuine faith" of Timothy, which he says, "dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also" (2 Timothy 1:5).

Sometimes the older generation does not do a good job of transmitting what it should to the generation that follows. Sometimes the younger generation refuses to receive what was left them by their forefathers. When this occurs, the consequences are almost always negative.

British anthropologist John D. Unwin conducted an in-depth study of eighty civilizations that have come and gone over a period of some four thousand years. He discovered that a common thread ran through all of them. In each instance, they started out with a conservative mind-set with strong moral values and a heavy emphasis on family. Over a period of time, the conservative mind-set became more and more liberal, moral values declined, and the family suffered. In each instance, as the family deteriorated, the civilization itself started to come apart; and in all eighty cases the fall of the nation was related to the fall of the family. In most cases, that civilization fell within one generation of the fall of the family unit. (from Zig Zeiglar)

The effectiveness of one generation in bringing along the next generation not only has ramifications for families and nations, it also has great ramifications for God's people. The reality is that the error that one generation accepts in moderation, the next will accept in excess. In this way, standards of personal morality, decisions regarding the work of the church, and doctrinal soundness can degrade tremendously from one generation to the next. There are churches which were once faithful that have changed so drastically from what they were a generation ago, that if someone from the previous generation rose from the dead and visited, they would think they had walked in on the worship assembly of a completely different religion.

The Psalms have a lot to say to us about the need to faithfully transmit God's truth from one generation to the next (cf. Psalm 22:30; 71:18; 78:4-6; 145:3-4). There is an especially poignant passage in Psalm 48:12-14, where faithful Israelites are instructed to "Walk about Zion, and go all around her. Count her towers; {13} Mark well her bulwarks; Consider her palaces; that you may tell it to the generation following. {14} For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide Even to death." Just as the Israelites needed to know exactly how everything was to be in Zion so that they could pass the information on to the next generation, the older generation of today needs to know exactly how things are to be in the church in order to pass that information on to the next generation.

What will the church at New Georgia (Wise, erh) be like a generation from now? Much will depend on the job we do today of passing down truth, helping the young develop their abilities, and being examples of diligent laborers ourselves.               

---Steve Klein 

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Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

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