Here’s a metaphor I just thought about…
Caring for your kids is a lot like cooking food. Imagine your ways of doing discipline with your kid as the ‘fire’ in this example and your kids, well…as the ‘meat’ in this culinary illustration about raising kids. Just bear with me for a moment. 🙂
Fire is good but fire unchecked can cause destruction and undue damage. Let’s say you’re grilling a steak and your pan is searing hot, so hot that it’s near smoking point. Thinking it will cook meat much faster, you throw the slab on top of it and hear the sirloin sizzle complete with smoke. After half an hour of cooking both sides of the meat with full fire and brandishing burnt crusts you took it out of the pan and served it on a plate. After cutting the juicy-looking meat, your guest gasped and saw how raw and inedible it is to eat (editor’s note: guest likes it well done).
I learned in culinary schooling that you get perfect cooking when the fire is between low and medium heats. This keeps the meat cooked well on the inside and brown and juicy looking on the outside.
Now what does this got to do with nurturing kids? A lot!
In the rush of things and without much thought, we use fear and anger to discipline our kids. We have become drill sergeants instead of parents. So much so that we inexplicably turn up the heat on our children thinking it would do them a lot of favor. It’s actually the opposite if you’re the kind of parent who knows what fear does to you.
If I as a parent continue to keep the ‘fire’ and ‘rage’ going then it is going to affect my child’s life. Not only will it create a wall between you and your child but it will also provoke unwanted rebellion that no parent wants. Now that’s what I call cooking meat in hot, blazing fire. With such methods, they may learn fast from a hot-headed, ultra-disciplinarian dad or mom and “grow up fast”. In our eyes, yes, but little do we know that when they go up against the world they fold, they cry, they cringe, they get confused — in other words, they’re raw and “uncooked” just like our steak example. So uncooked that they turn to be pretenders, putting up a false appearance only to show they’re not ready and immature to face the harsh challenges of this world.
On the other hand, a parent who keeps the fire low to medium has the patience to wait and keep their wards in check by applying the right amount of discipline. They consistently keep their kids’ behavior in line, explaining why a punishment is meant to be and why — perhaps — spanking is the best form of reminder (when it’s necessary) to make them know that there’s love at the end of each proverbial rod of discipline. Over time, with parents consistently reminding their kids about the importance of listening and obedience they tend to grow up ready and mature to face the challenges of this world.
As a parent, our patience counts a lot in disciplining our kids. It becomes the measure by which we should look at ourselves, our lives and understand how God treats us. Remember the sin that you keep repeating despite forgiveness that God gives you every time you ask of it? That’s grace. So I’m not saying to do away with the rods. Far from that, I’m saying you keep up with the rod, the reminders, the corrective measures and all but not the harsh, beating down on kids, and becoming an overbearing guardian — going through life with your kids without a relationship. Like life, you don’t get beat up harshly every time of your day right? So why would you do it to your kid? Train them and explain why things work the way they are and once your kids become more mature in their childhood days then you can be sure that they will exert their effort to apply the knowledge they learned from you and from the wisdom you imparted (from The Bible) and perhaps make the right decision more than less.
So parents, extinguish that rage and remember — in disciplining your kids — slow fire is always good.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” — Prov 22:6