My motives are pure: I love children. They are of exceedingly great value in my eyes. Therefore, when I see them, as in the grocery store not long ago, screaming at and hitting their mothers, I am more than grieved, shocked, and appalled. I am mystified. Or was.
I drove home sick at my stomach. “I don’t understand, Lord,” I prayed. “Why would a mother put up with this? How does this happen?”
And insight came: She hasn’t done the nurturing, she knows deep inside she has no right to admonish. Ah yes, Ephesians 6:4, KJV–And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
That child was provoked to wrath, in this case I surmise by the mother as well as the father, because of the absence of balance.
I, for one, have always preferred nurturing to admonition. John (my husband) told me long ago, that if I had to err, my children would be better off with a little less nurturing and a little more admonition. My response was that I don’t have to err, not if my nurture and admonition are directed by the very Spirit of God Himself, and that I will nurture my children until their cups runneth over, thank you very much.
I secretly thought I would just leave most of the admonishing to him, and I know I have plenty of sisters who think this way. Not good.
My daughter is acquainted with a young woman who said she wished her mom had married someone else. This is a family where the mom never disciplined, so the dad had to be the bad guy. Not fair, not healthy.
We must all be brave enough to examine our parenting in the light of scripture, and let our child’s behavior be the indicator of where we might be missing it, be it nurture, admonition, or simply complete disregard for the author and finisher of good parenting–that would be our child’s Creator.