Tough Love


“Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; its training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves.” Hebrews 12: 5-7 Message

My siblings and I were brought up in a home where our parents, believed in using a belt, or a switch, whichever was closest, to administer discipline when they felt it was absolutely necessary.  Yes, my brothers and I got “whippings”, my sister not so much.  My dad sometimes said, “This is going to hurt me, more than it’s going to hurt you.”  I still haven’t figured that logic out yet! 

My sister made a promise to herself, that when she had children she was not going to “whip” her kids. 

“No popping, no smacking, no whupping, no “stop crying, before I give you something to cry about, nothing” 

My sister and her husband had three beautiful daughters. When her oldest daughter was a preschooler, my sister who had made this promise all of a sudden got introduced to real life, when her oldest daughter in anger pick up a xylophone and threw it at her. The rest is history. Lol

I am not hear to debate how you should or should not discipline your children.  I will leave that to Stacey Patton, Ph.D., Professor of Journalism at Morgan State University and others to argue. 

Loving parents are hard wired to protect their children from harm. “Better I discipline you than the legal system!” Some children are strong-willed and nothing but tough love gets through.  The disciple may be in the form of a conversation, it may be removing some privilege or spanking.  Tough love is the message, “I know you don’t like what I am about to do, but I’m going to do it anyway because it’s for your good and I love you”. 

God tells us in his word, that He disciplines his children out of his love for us, so that in the end “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” will be the result. It’s a blessing to know that my parents did not leave us to our own but set up boundaries that were designed to keep us safe.  God like a loving father wants to keep us away from what would hurt us until we are mature enough to understand differently. Sometimes that involves discipline.