No. 24


While enthusiasm is the most contagious, love is the strongest of all human emotions and it was placed in each of us by a loving God as a way to express our appreciation and commitment to those people and things that mean the most to us.

When we truly love someone it is only natural to have that person's best interests at heart. There is no greater love in all the world than the love parents have for their children. This is a God-like instinct that is not only present in humans, it is also present in the animal kingdom. We see examples of this on every hand, and one that comes to mind is the very vivid picture I remember of a mother hen being burned to death in a fire and when she was removed, her baby chicks were still alive under her lifeless body. Now, as the song goes, "If that isn't love, I don't know what is."

If you are a parent, grandparent, guardian, or someone else responsible for rearing a child, have you ever heard these words from your child: "You don't love me!" Now, I'm sure in some cases the words, "You don't love me" are actually true. There are some people who never feel love and because of this, it's impossible for them to give love. However, in most cases the child who says, "You don't love me" is actually using these words as a tool to get what he or she wants.

In recent years, discipline has become a major problem in our nation's schools and also in millions of homes across America. If we are to reverse this trend, it is important for us to understand the difference between "true" love and doing what is best for our children, as opposed to letting them use our emotions to do things that may not be in their best interests. Here I'd like to offer some positive suggestions and guidelines to help us deal with this problem. In administering discipline and punishment to children, here are nine principles that should be observed:

1. Do not discipline in anger.

2. Do not let discipline in retaliation.

3. Do it in such a way as to not embarrass and humiliate the child.

4. Let the discipline be reasonable and let discipline be an expression of love.

5. Above all, ask God to give you divine wisdom in raising that child.

6. Keep your cool. Children need the confidence that only a steady hand and a settled soul can offer.

7. Show your child that you are wise enough and strong enough to be the boss.
8. Be honest with your children. Tell them the truth.

9. Be generous with praise and when it comes time to criticize, your child will believe you and respect your judgment.

Raising children in today's times is not easy. There are so many pressures and problems in existence today that were not around fifty years ago. But children are a blessing and they are a gift from God. If we do a good job of raising them, when they are old enough to understand, we can say "Do you remember when you used to tell me. 'You don't love me.' " Well, the truth is, I loved you enough to ask you to clean your room, to not make excuses for your lack of respect and bad manners. I loved you enough to let you stumble, fall and fail, so that you could learn to stand alone. But most of all, I loved you enough to say "no", when you hated me for it. This, my child, was the hardest part of all." -- (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)