Last Sunday I reflected on the wisdom of the men and women of the Midweek Communion community, the simple yet profound responses they gave to the questions, “How does Jesus impact your life day to day?”, “What does knowing him actually do for you?”
Their answers, you may recall, included three basic elements. Firstly, they said, he is present to them. As Jesus said in John’s gospel, “I know my sheep, my sheep hear my voice”.
Secondly, having grown to recognise Jesus’ presence, they said he offers them his peace. Jesus said, “My peace I give you, my peace I leave with you.” This is these Christian friends’ experience after years of knowing Jesus.
Finally, there was what I described as power – not bombs and flashes but power as deep solidity. As the great hymn says, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand”. This solidity was born of his faithfulness in the long journey.
Three expressions of human experiences of Jesus exporting his wisdom into the lives of his followers: present to them, reassuring them in life’s difficulties and ordinariness, and solidity, reliability, dependability.
As parents, Cheryl and I wanted to export God’s wisdom to our girls. It was really mostly in hindsight that we could identify how we set about shaping and disciplining them. While this is definitely not God’s word – although you will find some of these principles in scripture – I offer the following ‘advice’ for your reflection.
When it comes to our children:
- Don’t be terrified of them – they don’t come with a manual but they will feed off your confidence and strength.
- Start shaping/disciplining them from day one – routine and clear expectations.
- They long for the security of a firm hand and clear boundaries – whatever they tell you.
- Every child will need a slightly different discipline approach – one size does not fit all.
- If you’re that angry, walk away until you are not.
- Be consistent and sensible – imposing punishments that are unenforceable or make your life impossible are very unwise.
- If you say it, you’d better live it; in time your actions will speak so loudly that they won’t hear a word you say.
- Kids’ default position is to divide and conquer; be united, support one another and never contradict your spouse’s disciplining words in front of the kids – have that chat in private.
- Don’t worry if you get it wrong; learn to say sorry often.
- Have other mums and dads as good mentors – constructive guides, not whinge partners.
These are just a few of my reflections looking back. Cheryl got them pretty well perfectly balanced, I seemed to fumble from pillar to post, but together we did okay and are still learning …… and apologising.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1).