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What is the best gift you can give your children in troubled times?

Without a doubt I believe it is godly character. A sensitive spirit and persevering character will steer your children through anything troubled times can throw at them.

The discipline to develop godly character will not always be convenient or comfortable for you or them. But if you will commit yourself to scriptural discipline, your children will honor and bless you, and they in turn will be blessed with godly character and long lives.

Proverbs 29:17 promises that if you "correct thy son...he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul." This is not stating a possibility. It's a fact.

Your discipline gives your children the opportunity to honor and obey you, which opens the door to blessings for them. Ephesians 6:1-3 says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth."

Let's look at four important characteristics of discipline that will bless you and your children:

A Job Well Done
First, discipline that blesses will teach your children to be responsible - how to work, how to finish a job and how to handle money. There is an old Jewish proverb that says, "If you don't teach your child a trade, it's the same as if you taught him to steal."

A child can pick up a lot of things naturally. But you probably know by now that work is not one of them. It shouldn't surprise you then, that training your child to do a job well will be harder work for you than for them. You have to stay with them if you are going to establish the standard.

You may think staying with them takes too much time. I could do this quicker myself. But you are not doing your children any favors by not letting them finish the job right.

Your children need you to stay with them until they have finished a project - whether it is a chore, a school assignment or sticking out baseball season. You need to inspect the finished work and be ready to commend them when it is done correctly. When it's not, show them how to do it right and have them go at it again. Don't let them give up. Teach your children how to derive satisfaction from a job well done.

Another responsibility your children need to be taught is how to handle money. If you don't want money to control your children, then you need to teach your children to control money. Don't give them a lot of money to spend foolishly. Teach them how to earn it, save it and tithe it.

Tithing will teach them how to manage their finances - it will bring wisdom in handling money.

Character Praised
Second, discipline that blesses exalts character. All of us love to praise our little children when they sing pretty, recite poetry and look cute or handsome in their dress-up clothes. But as they grow older, they need praise for their character - not just their God-given talents and abilities.

You can do this in some simple ways. For instance, you can clap just as enthusiastically when your son returns from carrying out the trash as you did when he hit a home run.

Impress on your children that the winners in life are those who have the most character. Then, even when they have been unfairly treated, they will stick to their goals. They will wind up on top of the heap when everyone else has quit.

Abundant Hugs
Third, discipline that blesses you and your children will involve lots of hugs. Show your children affection. Let them know you love them whether they perform well or not. They should not have to earn your love based on their successes or failures.

Demonstrate your love. Hug your kids. And that includes your boys. It's not true that hugging is a sign of sissiness and that it's not masculine to hug your boys. Boys need hugs too.

If you'll give your kids the love and affection that they need at home, you'll prevent them from desiring to go find it in the world. A lot of young girls are willing to give their bodies over to some boy before marriage because they're looking for the affection and hugs their daddies never gave them.

A lot of teenage boys are looking for the kind of commitment out of a girl that only a future wife can give because they don't get affection at home.

I've hugged my kids so much that when I walk in the door all three of them will run to hug Daddy. One of my sons even stops playing his video game sometimes to do it. Now when he stops playing a video game, you know he's expressing affection!

Loving Correction
The fourth thing you need to do if your discipline is going to bless you and your children is to correct them when they rebel. This is not punishment. You punish criminals; children you correct.

Correction should be in proportion to the infraction and appropriate to the age of the child. You don't beat a baby's bottom with a pine board. Nor will swats convince an 18-year-old he shouldn't have stayed out past curfew.

Find what speaks to each child. You might have to put up with a little crying from a baby who doesn't want to go to bed. Or the car and dating privileges may have to be taken away from a disobedient teenager.

In the in-between ages, when they are old enough to correct with a rod, remember that training with a rod is scriptural. Proverbs 13:24 says that "he that spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." Of course you don't hate your children, but if you refuse to correct them, it will have the same impact on them as if you did.

Your correction should not be given in anger. Proverbs 22:8 says, "He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail." If your child gets the spanking strictly because you're angry, he will begin to think that every time he gets a spanking it is because you're mad and not because he's done wrong. He will relate correction not to his behavior, but to your attitude.

Discipline will not be fun for you or your child, but it will yield peace. Hebrews 12:11 says, "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

What you want to do is create a sensitive spirit in your child. You want your children to be bothered when they do something wrong. You'll know you are doing well when they've done something wrong and can't hide it.

This won't happen overnight. It will require consistency. It will require a commitment. But the rewards are great. Never forget: Your partnership with God will always help you to train up your children in troubled times. With God, you will succeed!

Source: One Word From God Can Change Your Family
by Kenneth & Gloria Copeland
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Willie George
Web site: Church On the Move
At age 20, Willie George began an outreach with Sunday School buses and quickly learned how to hold the attention of rowdy, unchurched kids. In the decade that followed, his groundbreaking techniques brought him to national prominence as an authority on children's ministry. In 1982, he created a wildly successful, nationally broadcast kids television program, The Gospel Bill Show.

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