Do Unto Others

But what about “discipline”? That means to spank, doesn’t it? No. “Discipline” means, simply, “to teach”. There is a lot included in the meaning of this word such as a purposed teaching that involves active participation from the teacher. It comes from the same root as the word “disciple”. A disciple is someone who learns from another by walking with them and studying at their knee. It is someone who is intimately involved in the life of the person they will eventually imitate. So, yes, discipline your child. And you do this by spending time with them, modeling your life for them, and showing them how God intends them to live.

Okay, but “chastise”. Surely that means we need to spank our children.

Again, no. “Chastise” means “to correct”. And this is very important. The way we are to correct our children is never stated, only that we are to correct their wrong behavior. And, yes, this will be frustrating and difficult for the child. This will be considered unpleasant. Tell your two-year-old they may not have the cookie they want and you will see that frustration. You don’t need to physically harm them to drive home the point.

The Hebraic idea behind “chastise” is “come let us reason together”. This is what the rabbis did and this is how a man would instruct his children. Because a child doesn’t develop reason until age 14 this would be the approach to take during the adolescent years when a child is finding their own way. This is the approach of sitting and reasoning with them, questioning them, finding their motivation, seeking their understanding and to understand them. This is the process of helping a child figure out the answers for themselves.

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