13. Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
14. If you strike him with the rod,
you will save his soul from Sheol.
15. My son, if your heart is wise,
my heart too will be glad.
16. My inmost being will exult
when your lips speak what is right.
17. Let not your heart envy sinners,
but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.
18. Surely there is a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.
19. Hear, my son, and be wise,
and direct your heart in the way.
20. Be not among drunkards
or among gluttonous eaters of meat,
21. for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
and slumber will clothe them with rags.
Comment: We have seven children, five of whom we’ve had since they were born. Two were adopted as teenagers from being street kids. In honesty I cannot say that we used this passage as a template to bring them up but it was basically the way we followed, and I’m glad.
- Discipline can be taken to an unreasonable degree, and that is not referred to here. Discipline is to be done to train the child that he/she doesn’t end up walking the way that leads to hell. (14). Physical discipline may hurt for a while (the purpose of it!) but used judiciously will not harm them but teach them.
- My delight is to see my children wise! To see them ably speaking wisely in the councils of society as they grow to maturity. Thus training is sooooo important.
- They are not to covet the blessings that sin gains, but to learn the fear of the Lord. There is a certain future hope in doing right!
- Encourage them not to be drunkards or gluttons.
- You don’t want them to be dressed in rags – so teach them to be industrious.
I have heard people say ‘I want to let my kids grow up and then decide what they want to believe and be’. Do they do that in bodily habits? Do they let them eat all the sweets they want and decide later if they want false teeth? Do you teach them cleanliness or let them decide for themselves if they wash or let the room full of people enjoy their body odour? And character training doesn’t just happen – as we increasingly see nowadays discipline being thought and taught to be unnecessary and even wrong.
Good on you, Solomon!
Prayer: Having seen your blessing in the way our kids turned out, please look after our grand and great grand-kids.