"O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me." (Psalm 38:1-4)
This verse really stuck out to me during my devotions yesterday. It didn't stick out because of the writer's obvious distress at the Heavenly Father's anger, but rather because of the application that can be drawn from the verse... the application to the manner in which I discipline my own children.
I remember being confronted with the anger of my father as a child. I remember how it affected me. I remember the fact that everything else fled from my mind except the fact that I had made Daddy angry... again. The punishment no longer mattered. The reason he was angry fled from my memory. All I could think of was that Daddy was mad...
I wonder if the same is true for our children...
My husband and I try to never discipline in anger. If we're angry, the punishment either waits until later, or the other parent deals with it in our stead. The ultimate goal of discipline is to instill self-discipline. Discipline is a vital part of training up our children in the way they should go. If we discipline in anger, if we can't control ourselves, how can we possible teach our children to control themselves?
If our children perceive that they're being disciplined because we're angry, then the training moment is lost. Just like we did when we were younger, children tend to focus on our anger rather than what they did wrong.
Just as there's a right and wrong way for our children to obey (submissively or with an attitude), so there's also a right and wrong way for us to discipline our children (in a right spirit or in anger). Be careful! And... Remember, "You reap what you sow"! If you sow anger, you're training your children to be angry as well.