13Don't fail to correct
You won't kill them
by being firm,
14and it may even
save their lives.
Children seem to understand that getting it right takes practice. I was watching my 2 year old grandson recently threading a toy screw into a busy board. Round and round, over and over again he tried it without a hint of giving up. From time to time one of the adults would offer guidance. A verbal hint or a guiding hand was given. Sometimes it took a repositioning of the objects to get the alignment right. A few weeks later I saw him at it again. He whizzed through the task and looked around for something more challenging.
None of us thought of it that day, but this was life saving mastery. Having spatial-temporal dexterity makes playing with a busy board fun. But not having a sense of timing and spatial relationships when merging onto a freeway can kill you. Does this seem like a stretch, going from toys to cars? But this is the way we learn. Small steps, with consistent and loving correction, can lead to life giving skill sets. Practice, repeat, alter, repeat and practice again is what it takes for physical mastery. And we know that gaining knowledge comes in a similar way. In fact, we flourish in our culture because of the excellence of our schools. We have deeply insightful educational theory to inform our practice. Our best schools today produce highly skilled and deeply insightful graduates. They lead productive lives and contribute abundance and flourishing to all of God’s creation, human and non-human alike. This common grace is easy to overlook. But we should celebrate it.
Love motivates discipline, not pride, frustration or anger. Gaining wisdom is not about power and control. But the sad truth is that many have taken this verse as a license for misplaced power. I wonder if we can do better.
Father, you have not left us alone, but give us your spirit of love and wisdom. Your loving discipline is evident in our lives. It brings us peace. Yet, it is hard for us to be humble and easy to stir up anger. Forgive us, in the name of Jesus. Amen.