Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being. PSALM 51:6
Sometimes in the midst of correcting your kids, you can easily lose sight of the main reason you discipline them in the first place. It's not just to get their clothes picked up or to eat the meal you've prepared or to stop hitting a sibling. The reason for discipline is to develop inner character, the kind that knows and is learning how to respond to life's challenges.
The core of a baseball is made of hard rubber. But imagine if the core were marshmallow. What would happen as the string wrapped around it or when a bat smacked it hard several times? It would smush into a mess.
It's the inside that counts—the character you're growing in your children.
As life begins to happen, as circumstances and decisions begin to wrap around them, it's their character that will hold them together.
Barbara and I define character as "response-ability"—the ability to make the right choices in response to authority and to life's circumstances. From the time your children leave the cradle, your work as a parent is to turn life situations into teaching situations, growing their "response-ability" one day at a time, teaching them how to respond to you, to others, to life and to God.
In the next few days, you'll have plenty of opportunities either to overreact to your children's behavior or to address the roots of their development—to deal with externals or to train their hearts. Remember, you're growing character here. It's only the ones who grow strong at the center—especially as character is strengthened by commitment to God's Word—who are able to hold up to the challenges they will face in life.
One of the biggest challenges to a parent is building character on the fly—in the midst of a busy schedule and a family with a multitude of different needs. Talk about how you can take advantage of natural teaching opportunities to train your children in how they should respond.
Pray for God to give you the discernment to know what issues need to be addressed and what issues you need to let go.