Many of you have asked for a positive example, in contrast to manipulation, of what biblical instruction would look like in everyday life. Here it is.
Proverbs tells us that nothing we desire can compare with the beauty of God's wisdom. Proverbs also says that parental instruction is to adorn the lives of our children. It is not surprising then that the Apostle Paul says that children's lives will be blessed if they obey. So, at least in principle, biblical instruction is to be viewed as precious wisdom that adorns those who are instructed.
How can this principle turn into reality in your home?
Here are two biblical principles that will help.
The first is that pleasant words promote instruction (Proverbs 16:20-24). The second is that human anger will not produce the righteous life that God desires ( Proverbs 15:1 & James 1:19-20). So, instruction that is sharp, angry, frustrated, etc., is clearly not going to result in children who believe they are adorned by their parents words. Likewise, manipulation is not adornment but appeasement.
Let's take a look at what positive instruction that adorns children and honors God might look like.
Eight-year-old Ryan is having a hard day. Several things he has wanted to do haven't happened. Now a thunderstorm has wiped out playing with his friends outside. He feels he has every justification to be grumpy. Mom says this to him:
"Ryan, I need your help right now in getting ready for company tonight. Would you watch your sisters for me?"
"This isn't fair. All day things have not been fair. And now you want me to watch Sarah and Michelle? How is that fair? Can't I have a break?"
Mom realizes that Ryan is really troubled. So, instead of forcing the issue in a way that would certainly lead to discipline, she takes a minute and calls Ryan over to the couch to sit with her.
[Read the rest of the article at Shepherd Press.]