“A child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” (Proverbs 29:15, ESV)
I chatted with my friend as if there were no kids in the car, casually mentioning a situation we were both well aware of.
The bright eyed little girl in the back caught on and made a comment. Alarmed, we turned around to look into her eyes and grapple with something to say.
Her mother graciously led her into a long and detailed, back and forth, child-friendly explanation of a situation in the child's life that would help her understand. As I listened, I was so proud of her.
She could have given a hasty explanation, hoping to shut her child up and hoping she would never, ever repeat what she heard. But she has wisdom.
Back and forth she went, asking questions and offering explanation to both give understanding and throw her child off track at the same time. There was no panic, no urgency—just a clear, calm, wise mama taking time to wield helping words.
Sometimes, we focus so much on discipline that we forget our main tool should be doing life well with our children. Leading your child with premeditated wisdom works better than following him with condemnation. Taking care of hearts works better than constantly spanking the body of a troubled heart.
Get down on your children’s level, and speak into their hearts while you look into their eyes. Lead with your soul, speak with the Spirit, and always show them a better way when they are stumbling. Does your child need your harshness, or does he need your heart?