Calmly Correct and Punish
How heart-rending it is to see a home where parents and children are in continual conflict, with parents scolding their children for almost every little thing, and threatening to “give them to the Gypsies,” or to “cut off their ears,” or “put a split stick on their tongues,” and many other foolish and hurtful threatenings the father and mother make when they are provoked.
Be always calm in your own feelings and never be hasty to speak or act (James 1:19-20). When the child really needs reproval, take him patiently and show him the evil of such things, how it will lead to other bad things, and these to others, and should he continue in that way he would grow up to be a bad man. Tell him how you love him, and how you want to see him become a good and noble man, a blessing to his parents, to the community, and to the world. If it is his first offense, tell him you hope he will not do those bad things any more, and should he do them you will be obligated to punish him.
If the child is old enough to be reasoned with like this, and it is done rightly, the need for corporal punishment will not be so frequent. It is a shame and a sin to act in haste and punish your little ones without patiently and coolly explaining matters.
When it becomes necessary to use “the rod” (Proverbs 29:15) upon your child, be sure you possess a calmness in your soul. It requires much grace for true parents to chastise their children. Before you punish them you should show them what great wrong they have done and how God is displeased, and that you do not punish them for your own pleasure, but because you love them.
To the dear parents who read this we wish to exhort you to give great diligence in cultivating the affectionate side of your nature. Do not be careless and unmindful of your dear little one’s happiness. Do not be cold and indifferent toward them. Enter into their joys and sorrows with a warm heart. When their child gets hurt, parents often remark callously, “Well, maybe it will teach you something.” Oh, may that heart be softened to tender sympathy, so you will make your dear child feel how sorry you are because he has been hurt. Then teach him how he should not do such things to avoid getting hurt. Your kind words of sympathy will help relieve the pain by their influence upon his heart. Cold and indifferent words make deeper wounds in the heart than are those made in the flesh.
Seek God in much earnest prayer to tender your affections, to refine your nature, to make you very sensitive to the feelings of your child, and to help you to love the tender “olive plants round about thy table.” (Psalm 128:3) Someday there may be a vacant chair, and there can be no sweeter joy on earth to your sorrowing heart than to know you did what you could to make your little one happy and to train their feet for the glory world.
Kind words are flowers of beauty rare;
Keep them blooming throughout the year.