July 25, 2019

Dee and Shawna have three of the most beautiful little girls I have ever seen. They are also a handful.

Wednesday morning, Dee called to share Shawna’s latest adventure in child discipline.

All day on Tuesday, Bailey and Kaitlyn had been arguing at the daycare. When Shawna picked up the girls, their teacher made sure she understood it had not been good. After she got home it was time to discipline the girls. But Shawna is no ordinary mother.

She pulled out a large lime green T-shirt and had both of them put it on at the same time. The picture she posted on Facebook showed two very unhappy little blond heads sticking out of the neck hole with Kaitlyn’s right arm sticking out one sleeve and Bailey’s left arm sticking out the other sleeve.

Then Shawna made them wash the dishes, but each girl could only use the arm that was sticking out of the T-shirt. This forced two little girls who didn’t want to be near each other to cooperate and practice teamwork in order to get the dishes washed.

Dee told me that by the end of the night, Bailey and Kaitlyn were best friends. Because of this genius way of using discipline to make a positive difference, I am going to nominate Shawna for Mother of the Year.

Parental discipline is a form of love. That’s why King Solomon, the wisest of all people, said: “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death.” (Proverbs 23:13-14)

Some people read this text and come to the conclusion that Solomon is saying, “Beat the tar out of your children.” That’s not what this is about.

Solomon is saying that effective discipline is the responsibility of a loving parent. I agree.

This understanding of discipline also applies to God. That’s why the writer of Hebrews said: “My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, or lose heart when you are punished by him; for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, and chastises every child whom he accepts.” (Hebrews 12:5b-6)

Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, help me to accept your discipline as a sign of your love. Guide my steps, words, and thoughts. And when I am wrong, show me the right way. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Discipline is a necessary part of the life of a Christian because we are all works in progress. And if you need to know how to do effective discipline with love, call Shawna.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.

Tom Robbins