Let's suppose I own a small company that builds boats. And, let's say I hire some unexperienced workers to be my apprentices. Every day, I show these apprentices one new step in crafting the boat. I teach them only what they are able to learn, before showing them a new step. I show them the design manual I created so that they can see the big picture, but I take it one step at a time. When they make mistakes, I lovingly correct their mistakes and encourage them to try again. It's important that the boat is built well and meets my exact specifications so I invest in my apprentices. I want them to learn how to do their jobs well so that one day they won't need me alongside them.
middle boy at 4 months and 1 year
I wouldn't just show them how to do it once and walk away and expect them to do it perfectly. I wouldn't expect them to learn it all in one day. I wouldn't yell at them when they made mistakes, or they might become discouraged and disheartened. I would come alongside my apprentices and together we would LEARN. Together I would GUIDE them. Together I would gently CORRECT their mistakes
and TEACH them the proper way to do things.
youngest boy at 3 months and 1 year
You see... God has entrusted me with three little apprentices. Somehow, I've forgotten how important it is that I not only recognize their mistakes and discipline those mistakes, but I ALSO teach them the correct way to do things. I have been reading in Lou Priolo's book "The Heart of Anger" this week and I have been convicted, challenged and encouraged. Let me just say, I'm not sure I have many tears left and I might need to buy more tissues! As a parent, it is my God given job to "bring [my children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4)
"But discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness." (1Tim 4:7) Isn't that what I'm getting at when I train my children? I don't want them to just be nice people. My purpose shouldn't be that they make me look good. Instead, what I should want is for them to develop Christ-like character. In this book I have learned that the word discipline means to exercise or to train. In Greek, the word is gumnazo. Mr. Priolo asserts this Gumnazo Principle: "biblical discipline involves correcting wrong behavior by practicing right behavior, with the right attitude, for the right reason, until the right behavior becomes habitual. "
7 years, 5 years and 3 years
So today, I've been really aware of treating them like the precious apprentices that they are. Asking for the Holy Spirit's help and guidance. I've been praying and repenting for my impatience with their mistakes and sins. It has been a day of "instant replay's." They weren't all successful, but some were... I'm still learning too. I have failed my children in so many ways as a result of my own sin and selfishness, but here is the good news. God redeems. He forgives me. He forgives my children as they muddle through and He offers us all so much grace. Thank you Jesus for dying for my sins!