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Discipling our children, part 1

October 27th, 2011

In a couple of weeks, I will be presenting a short workshop for parents on discipling our children. It’s hard to narrow down into one hour what is most important to share on this huge topic. But then, I am a firm believer that less is more, so one hour is certainly sufficient to pack in some important concepts, and it forces me to laser beam my approach.

In the next few posts, I will write about this topic of discipling children, as a way to flesh out some of my thoughts.

First, I want to make a distinction between discipline and discipleship.

Discipline, as defined in means “behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control.” It has to do with molding the outward behavior.

Discipleship, or becoming a disciple means to be a follower e.g. to be follower of Jesus. It has to do with molding the inward heart.

Often times we confuse or mix the two.  If our children behave well, we are happy, and we assume they are good disciples.  But that is not always true, is it?  Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, not because they were doing wrong things, in fact they followed all the rules to the letter. But they were not doing it with the right heart. They were missing the spirit of the law, which was to focus on God, the giver of the law.

We tend to be more concerned about outward behavior because that is the immediate need.  We want to have a conflict-free home with children who will do as they are told.  That would make our jobs as parents so much easier! Having well behaved children is a source our pride as well. We are embarrassed when our children misbehave in public.  We see it as a reflection of us, so we are quick to discipline.

When we think about disciplining our children to behave well, we need to have the bigger picture in front of us. Discipline with the view that we are discipling and molding their heart, not just the behavior.  Disciplining is not an end in itself, it is merely a means to an end of directing our children to God.

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  1. […] started a series on discipling our children in preparation for a workshop that I will be doing on this […]

  2. […] (Continuation from Part 3 in the discipleship series) […]


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