Were they being foolish (rebelling against authority) or being childish (acting in ignorance)? We considered this event childish and put in place logical consequences. The boys had to work to pay for the fixture and help dad in the repair (which, at their age then, basically meant “hand dad the tools.”) They also received front row seats in a lecture series given by mom and dad; they have attended numerous times.
The foolish/childish distinction we learned from Gary Ezzo in Growing Kids God’s Way. At the time, we needed that concept because we were treating everything like a heart issue. In this case the boys were not being rebellious, just being boys. They still needed consequences, but not punishment.
Disobedience, disrespect, disregard of authority all fall in the foolish-heart category and need the rod along with a lot of explanation. “The rod and reproof bring wisdom.” Proverbs 29:15
Ancient wisdom pointed out that we are all born fools, insisting on our own way instead of embracing God’s way. The Bible calls it sin, and it needs to be addressed because it is destructive. If we love our children, we will discipline them when sin raises its ugly head in their cute and valuable little lives. We know that sin left unchecked grows UGLY.
At the same time, we are all born ignorant; at first we just don’t know. We have to be taught and guided along. Children will make mistakes, break things, lose things, cherish the cheap but despise the prize. That is why children need parents, so that we can instruct them in the ways of God, correct without condemning, help them fix what they break, find what they lose, and learn to value what is really worth something. In this process, we allow them to experience consequences that follow out of their acts of ignorance. When we do this, our children learn wisdom. They learn that the pain of self-discipline is a whole lot better than the pain of consequences caused by neglect and ignorance.
We encourage you to take time to determine whether your children are being fools or whether they are just being children. If you punish them, they will need to know why. If you give them logical consequences, they will need to know why. Either way will require your input, your explanation, your instruction. Either way will require your time.
Let's not raise fools or ignorance!
Thanks for reading our thoughts. We’d love to hear yours. Feel free to make a comment.