Our children live, unfortunately, in a world that moral values have disappeared or at least, to a large extent, have been twisted. Teachers, schoolmates, friends, all exercise an influence on their thought, judgment and general behavior. In this spiritual and moral confusion prevailing in the world, our children need love, affection and correct upbringing, till they find out that the only truth and life's sure foundation is the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, during His earthly life, loved children and set them as bright examples of humbleness and trust for adults. In the gospels we see Him putting His hands on their heads and blessing them (Matthew 18: 3-5, Mark 10: 14-16). There's no doubt God is the One that knows far better than we the right way of upbringing and plainly sets it forth for us in the Bible. Nowadays that almost everything is permitted a lot of parents believe to discipline the child is wrong and harmful. They think giving the children what they ask makes them happy and one day as they become of age they will appreciate having been brought up that way. However, quite the contrary we see happening. The more yielding to children's demands parents are the more unhappy and demanding the children, and it goes on that way, educating a generation of people involved in every thinkable and unthinkable vice, to the detriment of themselves and society. God clearly states in the Bible that we ought to treat our children the way He treats us. «For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.» (Heb. 12: 6). Also we read: «Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell» (Prov. 23: 13-14). God insists on chastening the child, especially in his early years, saying: «Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.» (Prov. 22: 15).
On the other hand corporal punishment should not be the result of a violent outbreak of wrath on the part of the parent. This kind of upbringing not only does not bring about the desired results, but quite on the contrary, being entirely foreign to the letter and the spirit of God's Word, may cause children to be more disobedient and rebellious, and them phycologically irreparably. Children should be helped to understand that their being punished is dictated by love on the part of the parents having as purpose their good, and is not the outbreak of an insulted pride! Punishment, exercised according to Bible principles and dicta, is guaranteed to promote the development of a normal and useful character in the children, provided it is accompanied by the teaching of God's word and prayer. Thus the Bible again admonishes: «Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it» (Prov. 22: 6). More emphatic is the command God gave the people of Israel through Moses: «And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.» (Deut. 6: 6,7,).
A most striking and characteristic example of upbringing a child on the principles of God's word is Timothy. In his second epistle addressed to him Paul says: «From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus» (2 Tim. 3: 15). Paul mentions Timothy's grandmother Lois and mother Eunice, whose unfeigned faith he commends, being persuaded that it had dwelt in him also.
If we go back in the Old Testament times, a grand example of godly parenthood is that of Abraham of whom God said: «I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment;» (Gen. 18: 19). On the opposite side we have Eli the priest whose sons were «sons of Belial» and, in spite of all the evil they did, causing the people to abhor the offering of the Lord, Eli instead of renouncing them and removing then from their office in God's habitation, he talked to them softly, rather beseeching them not to do what they did! Therefore, God brought a great judgment upon his house, as He had warned him through Samuel and another anonymous prophet.
We see then that the sincere milk of God's word, is the only means of sure and safe child upbringing. Summing up all that has thus far been said, we would emphatically state that reasonable and Godly discipline of the children on the part of parents is absolutely necessary for their right and salubrious upbringing. And it goes without saying, that the Christian parents' main concern should be the salvation of the children. Therefore, they should «bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.» (Ephesians 6: 4).
And in closing, one final word. We don't expect our reason to approve of all that is taught in the Bible in regard to child discipline, as in a lot of other areas, but we respect it and apply it because we believe the Bible is God's word! And in doing so with prayer and faith in His word we enjoy the promised blessings! Written in Greek by John Ioannou, translated freely in English by Markos Boussios.