Proverbs 23:13-14 KJV "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shall deliver his soul from hell."
I was reminded of the truth of this verse last night. One of the little girls who is staying with me while he Mama is in the hospital had a rough day yesterday. She was whiny, difficult, easily offended, and quick to respond negatively. I knew that most of this bad attitude was based on the fact that she misses her parents, home, and routine, so I tried to be understanding. She yelled at some of the other kids, and I took her into another room and spoke with her about better ways to handle frustration. She struck another little girl, and I put her into the corner and admonished her, severely, about her behavior. Finally, she just completely lost control and lashed out at her older sister. So I administered the next level of correction. And the most amazing thing happened. The little girl crumpled into my lap, wrapped her arms around me, and sobbed out her loneliness for her parents, her desire for her home and her things, and her honest feeling of being overwhelmed. After she finished crying, we talked a little more about having a right attitude even when time are hard and I rocked her just a little. Then she got to face time with her parents, and then it was time for bed. As I was tucking her in, she said this to me...."Sister Alisa, thanks for thanks for taking care of me when I act bad, even the scolding. I feel better."
That melted my heart, and I remembered this Proverb. Children need boundaries and discipline as much as they need love and kindness. Discipline without love is a disaster, as is love without discipline. But both together will yield the fruit of peace. I am thankful for a God who loved little children enough that He left instruction for their parents in His word. I pray I would follow those instructions more each day as I continue to raise my children and to interact with those the Lord puts under my care for a little while.