Unjust Punishment ~ Part Two
Previously we shared how to deal with an out-of-control 13-year old who was over-reacting because of an unjust punishment. We shared how parents need to take the first step in the reconciliation process by admitting wrong and humbly asking for forgiveness. Again, this is not a justification for sinful behavior, nor does it disqualify the child from discipline, but it does help to quell hostility which opens the door for a civil dialogue. Once the parent has done their part by admitting wrong and the child accepts responsibility for his part, it is time for mercy to be stronger than judgment. We must never forget that God’s mercy is a 1,000 times greater than His judgment (Ex 20:6)
Now it is time to share how there will be times in his life when he will be unjustly treated and will need to respond with self-control. Most importantly he needs to see that God is sovereign over all of the affairs of men and using evil for good. Too often children and adults miss the blessing as blame turns to bitterness. Share the story of how King David was unjustly treated by Saul. Rather than throwing spears back at his enemy, David recognized that King Saul was God’s anointed preparation that would prepare him to become king (I Sam 24:6).
Remember also that most 13-year olds are not very rational. Intense hormonal changes cause them to fluctuate between childlike and adult behavior. This is not an excuse for out-of-control behavior, but it should be considered as you wisely discern the appropriate time to speak rationally to him.
During this time, your son needs to be around other mentors as much as possible. If godly mentors are not easily accessible in your church or family, then surround him with role models through great stories. At eleven years of age, Ronald Reagan found a mentor in the book That Printer of Udell’s that inspired him to become president and guided him through most of his life. Another book, Hand on the Bridle, is an excellent story of a stubborn boy who finally yields the reins of his life to the Master.
During this season of change and maturity, your son needs clearly defined boundaries. Explain to him that each time he exercises self-control, he will not need to be controlled by his parents. Self-control is the virtue that will propel him into manhood, and along with that comes the privilege of making autonomous decisions for his own life.
One last thought: It might be a more pleasant experience growing up if mom and dad take the initiative to grow up first.
Mark’s Favorite Book of the Day!
—That Printer of Udell’s
Has someone crossed your path recently who might have needed your help? Were you paying attention closely enough to have noticed? This wonderful book from Harold Bell Wright is just as relevant in this century as it was to those to whom he was writing over 100 years ago. That tramp printer who ends up working for George Udell has much to teach us about living by an honor code. According to President Ronald Reagan, “That Printer of Udell’s had an impact I shall always remember… The term ‘role model’ was not a familiar term in that time and place. But I realize I found a role model in that traveling printer whom Harold Bell Wright had brought to life. He set me on a course I’ve tried to follow even unto this day. I shall always be grateful.”