|The Proverbial Rod of Discipline|
Proverbs 22:15 – “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him” – helped me in the path away from folly and toward virtue even before I knew its words. I still think it is an important verse and that many in the modern age dismiss it too quickly, but it is not this Old Testament verse I want to focus on at the moment. Rather, I want to look at a New Testament verse that provides an important balance to the more numerous passages of Scripture that encourage the discipline of children, Colossians 3:21: “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”
This verse often comes into my mind when I find myself being too hard or harsh with my children, or when I set my expectations too high. It is an important reminder that the role of the parent is primarily one of encouragement, rather than force. I can force my children to memorize information and I can force my children to behave properly – to a limited degree – but it is more important to help form my children into people who freely choose a life of virtue and faith.