On Loving Discipline

No one loves being disciplined, as kids and as adults. I suppose the stakes are higher when you’re an adult than when you’re a kid but it stings all the same.

My wife and I have to discipline our two daughters all the time. This shouldn’t be a surprise, in general, but what I am surprised is the fact that it hurts me a lot to do it.

The old adage is apparently true, that it might just hurt me as much as it is going to hurt them (in that parenting way, of course).

The scriptures, via Proverbs 12:1, says that “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” It’s funny now, as a parent, that although I would never call my child “stupid” I know in my head and have quite literally thought about this dynamic and how they will come to appreciate these learnings (i.e. knowledge) in time.

It just doesn’t feel good during the process and certainly not during the event itself.

The reality is that correction (and moments of correction) are a constant in life and never really enjoyable. Our natural instinct is to resist it, to hate it. The problem is that we’re resisting something that is incredibly beneficial to and for us (hence how “stupid” it is to resist it).

Many of us have sought out knowledge without the discipline part. The more I mature as an adult the more I realize that they are very closely aligned and in many circumstances (perhaps more than I’d like to admit) the presence of discipline is required for knowledge to be achieved or acquired.

Another reality is that we will never accumulate enough knowledge to fully reveal our blind spots. Our “blind spots” are our blind spots, full stop. Discipline and correction is the only way that we’ll overcome these blind spots, or at least become more aware of them than we are today.

It gives us that valuable perspective beyond our current understanding. The more we can engage with this process intentionally the better.

Consequently, taking advantage of this correction and embracing it is really important. And it is up to use to make it a part of our lives in a way that is consistent and valuable.

It is valuable and requires an intentional process. We have to take advantage of the opportunities that exist before us for correction and if we don’t have any good avenues, ones that are safe, then we need to find them (e.g. coaches, mentors, etc).

And, for our own part as well, we have to make it just as easy for people to approach us for correction as we’d like others to be for ourselves. We have to create sincere and genuine invitations for correction, for discipline, for rebuke.

This, of course, flies in the face of everything that we natural want for ourselves. Our instinct to fight or flee, to escape and to ignore – those are more easy to come by. We have to have time to process, to acknowledge, to learn. We have to give our emotions time to decompress and be removed from the equation so that we can receive the truth and appropriately decide on the right course of action.

I pretty much hate correction but I’m being reminded, each day, that it is invaluable to my well-being and soul. I need to invite it and make it stick.

(And, I don’t want to be a dummy.)