Dr. Ed Young - Success Begins at Home
This summer, Jo Beth and I had the privilege of having with us for a couple of weeks on our vacation, my youngest son, Cliff, his wife Danielle, and their four children. I have ten grandchildren. Two of my sons have four, one of them have two. I had three sons. Now I've got eight granddaughters and two grandsons. We got into the female mode with the second stanza, which is a big improvement on the male mode, I might tell you that. Anyway, this summer, we had Cliff and Danielle and their four, aged 4 years of age to 12. Uh, when we got together there, I brought everybody right up front and said, "I've got an announcement to make! Be quiet-shh! Be quiet! I want to tell you something! There is one rule that we have".
Now this is close living there in a little condo for a while-you know, close living with that many. I said, "There's one rule that we have, and this is a big rule! It's a rule that I will not debate, will not argue about! It is a rule that's written down, and we all have to abide by it"! Boy, they were listening... I said, "One rule! It is this: We have no rules"! Boy, the clapped! They cheered! We've been looking for a place like this! Boy, boy! Goosey is on target! I mean, I was like all the politicians who tell everybody exactly what you want to hear. Yah! I was heroic! Their parents and Jo Beth said... I enjoyed it. Grandfather privilege. Right guys? Yeah! Hey, you understand that.
Now, we were there about eight days, and we had a super time, you know, beach, and swimming, and you know, all the games that you play on the floor, and coloring, and drawing, and Walt Disney, and the whole enchilada! I mean, we had a great time together as a family, and then about the eighth day, I was over in the corner there reading, my quiet time, recovery time, and anyway, I was over there reading, and all of a sudden I hear, "Whooooom"! Man, it shook! Man, I jumped up. I knew somebody had slammed a door, wind-aided-BOOM! I said, "All right, all right! Everybody come out here! Come in here"! And boy, they came running in, all four of them, 12 to 4 years old. And I said, "Let me tell you something, who slammed that door"? And I pointed. I said, "Who slammed that door"? Nobody said anything. I said, "Now I know somebody who slammed that door"? And little 4 year old Becka said, "I didn't slam that door. I slammed that door over there"!
And I looked at her. She has these little glasses to keep one eye from floating, and she looked up at me, and I said, "Becka, let me tell you something: When you slam doors, you can hurt, mash fingers. You can break a foot. You can hurt someone seriously. We've got a rule, you don't slam doors"! She looked at me and said, "You said we didn't have rules"! It's been a long time, ladies and gentlemen, since I was in a discussion and someone with one blow knocked me totally out-plew! And the parents, the adults sort of... and I stood there stoically for a long time-Heh, heh, heh, heh! I said, "Becka-now, there, there, that's not a rule, really. It's a, it's a principle". Ha, ha, and I said, "You know, principles are big, big rules, and, and, and that's a principle that we have. That's a big-it's not really a little-it's a big rule that we don't slam doors".
Now, I wanted to tell her that was a cardinal rule. You know, a cardinal rule is a, is one of those superior rules and regulations that reign over all other, other the little trivial kind of rules and regulations that we have. Cardinal rules. And you study the meaning of the word "cardinal" it comes from "cardio". Something, a cardinal, a cardio is something that is central. It is primary. You have a post. You have a hinge on the post, and that door opens and closes on that post. That post is a cardio. It is central. It is primary. This is the reason our heart-your whole body can be healthy as it can be, but if your heart does not function, it doesn't matter about the rest of your body. It is central; it is primary. Therefore, we have cardinal rules. These are immutable principles upon which something operates, or someone operates. Cardio, cardinal. So we're talking about cardinal rules.
And today, we're talking about cardinal rule of parenting. There are many cardinal rules, Biblical rules for bringing up kids. But there is one primary cardinal rule in bringing up kids, and we're going to talk about that. If this is in place, and by the way, it involves discipline. If proper, Biblical discipline is in place with your sons and with your daughters, the other responsibilities of being a parent-care giving, communicating, right relationship-communicating, coaching, cheerleading, all of that's the role of parents. They tend to be in the right perspective if we have the cardinal rule concerning discipline in place with our sons and our daughters.
Now let me state this cardinal rule negatively and positively. Discipline within a relationship leads to maturity. That's the positive way of saying it. Discipline within a relationship leads to maturity. Would you say that after me? "Discipline within a relationship leads to maturity". Let's say it negatively: Discipline without a relationship leads to rebellion. See how it works? We're talking about discipline. And we're talking about parents staying in a proper, Biblical relationship with the kids. If that relationship is in place, discipline leads to maturity. If that relationship is not in place, discipline leads to rebellion.
Now, some discipline is counter-productive. In other words, we discipline improperly. We don't know how to discipline. We don't know when or where, and all the other aspects. Therefore, our discipline is counter-productive. Your discipline is counter-productive if you think that discipline is the opposite of love. Now a lot of parents think that. "Well, I want my children to love me. I want them to like me. I want to be their friend. I want to be their confidante..." Ladies and gentlemen, your kids do not need friends and confidantes! They need godly parents! And when we have the idea that if we discipline our kids, that is not love; love is a primary responsibility flowing out of love, is to properly discipline our kids.
Now we don't discipline as autocrats, "All right gang! I'm the head of the family, and I want to tell you, this is how we're gonna do things, because the Bible says I am to be the leader, and I am the father, and this is what..." That's not Biblical discipline. That's not sensible discipline. God didn't say, "Oh, you go out and be General Pattons in your home, dad! That's what you need to be like. Be like Patton..." Where in the world do we get such nonsense? So some discipline is counter-productive; it's so autocratic. And some discipline is counter-productive. We say, "Well, it'll just take time. This will all work out for himself. You know, boys will be boys, and girls will be boys... you know. I gotta go and eh, eh..." That's not it. The first thing you gotta do is figure out the way God has bent your kids. How's God?
"Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old, he'll not far, far from it..." First, you got to figure out how your kid is bent. Now I will tell you, all kids are not alike. We agree with that, but we come and say as a parent, "Oh, I'm gonna-we discipline the same way. We operate with..." "Well, this is the way I did with your sister, and this was good enough for your brother..." What kind of nonsense is that? You've got to figure out how they're bent. You got it? Otherwise, discipline is counterproductive, and a lot of our discipline is counter-productive as parents. So let's see what is productive discipline? Let's answer some questions. First question: Why do parents discipline? Why do we discipline? You know why? Because God disciplines you and me if we are a Christian and we are in His family.
Did you know that God disciplines His children? And therefore, we are to discipline our children. We don't discipline our neighbor's children, though we'd like to. We discipline our children. So look how God disciplines you and me as members of His family. We can see this is how we are to discipline our children. God knows how to discipline us. How does He do it? Look in uh, Hebrews, if you would, Chapter Number 12, Verse 5. This is how God disciplines us. "And you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons. My sons, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him". God disciplines you and me appropriately, doesn't He? He disciplines us appropriately. That's how we are to discipline our children. Look at Verse 6: "For those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines. He scourges every son whom He receives".
Other words, we're, God disciplines you and me lovingly. We're to discipline our children lovingly. See the difference here? Lovingly. Verse 7: "For if the discipline that you endure, God deals with you as with sons, for you are what, you are what son is there whom the Father does not discipline"? Verse 4: "But if you are without discipline of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not the sons and daughters". Verse 9: "Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them". God disciplines us with respect; we are to discipline our children with respect. Look at Verse 10: "For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them; but He disciplines us for our good so that we may share His holiness". In other words, we would say He disciplines us so that we would what? Walk with Him. Walk with Him...
All right, look at Verse 11: "All discipline for the moment seems to be joyful", heh, heh, no, no, "but sorrowful". Not joyful, but sorrowful. "Yet to those who have been trained by it afterwards, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness". Other words, discipline is life changing. How does God discipline us? Lovingly, appropriately, respectfully, as members of our family so that we will make the right choices, we will have life change so we'll walk with Him. That's how God disciplines us. That's how we are to discipline our children, and that's why as parents, we are to be in the disciplinary business. You got it? That's why we discipline. God disciplines us; we are to discipline our children as He disciplines us. And the next question we ask is when do we discipline? Look at Proverbs, if you would. Go to Psalm and kind of turn right.
Proverbs, Chapter 13, Verse 24. It says: "He who withholds his rod hates his son; but he who loves him disciplines him diligently". The word "diligently" there means we discipline early in the morning. The word-early in the morning. We discipline our kids as soon as we can to the offense; as soon as we can to the problem. That's when we discipline. And also, we discipline when we have put on their shoes and understand why they did what they did. We understand their emotions. Mom and dad, listen to me carefully: Emotions are real. You don't run over the emotions of your son and daughter.
You don't say, "Well, I don't care how you feel! Let me..." Oh no! Feelings are all important. You don't discipline until you get away from the anger you feel about what has happened, or the remorse, or the regret, or whatever it is, and you understand them emotionally. If they're sad, identify with their sadness before you discipline. If they're crying, find out why they're crying before you discipline and that's what's happened to you and me in our, our upbringing. Our parents sometime would shame us and just run over our emotions, and "Oh no, I want you to do this..." We must not do that with our children. God has emotions. God is not mechanical. He's a person. God has brokenness. God has feelings. Jesus has emotions. He didn't come down to this earth as a robot. Jesus has emotions. Therefore, we are to respect and to honor and get into the emotions of our children. Until we do that, we're not ready to discipline.
That's not the right time. This is the "when" of discipline. Do you get that? As soon as possible, but you also have to communicate with them emotion, because we've discovered in our basic principles, you have to have the relationship there before you do anything. If the relationship with that son or daughter is not there, you're not qualified to discipline. You shouldn't discipline. Why do we discipline? God disciplines us. When we discipline, we have to be inside their emotions. Let them know they matter to us. Don't run over the emotions of your children. And then we ask the question, where do we discipline?
Now we know that horses are born in stalls, and then finally they get to be little colts. They get around in the barn. Then they let them in the coral. Finally you let them out in the fenced in area. This is true of, of, of children. Our, our children are born in the stall, and, and we know that human beings need more care the first two years than any other, any other living being on the earth, right? We have to be there those years. Then finally they're in the barn. Then we let them in the coral, and they don't work in there, we put them back in the barn. Then finally, we get them out in the fenced in area. And by the way, that's where we discipline our children, in the realm of our family where you have your kids in a fenced in area, and the posts represent those cardinal rules that you have put down. And they're big, broad rules and principles as to how we do family, see? That's where you discipline.
And then you ask the question, "Well how do you discipline"? A lot of ways... One way if verbal. You know, my boy, "Hey, quit that"! When I'm hollering and shouting and, you know, they know that's all right. But when I get serious, verbal, I say, "Come here. Hey, no, no, no. Come here. Look me in the eye. That's right! Don't, don't, don't blink. Oop! Stay right here! I want to tell you something partner..." and I whisper and lay out verbal discipline. That'll take you a long way, a long way. Verbal discipline is very important. Very important... Also, there is grounding. You know about that. By the way, today when you ground a child, there's so much you gotta ground. I mean, I, you know, when I was coming... you know, T.V., that's about it. Man, you got I-Pods, you got computer, you got phones-I mean, grounding is a long list, isn't it? Gives you a lot of options. But grounding is a very important thing. You've drawn a line. You stated a principle. You're doing it for their protection. You've laid down the law!
That is the way you do it. Grounding is a way. That's one way how we discipline. Then with young kids, it's time out. Put them over by themselves, no communication. Look at this thing. Think about this thing. Time out! That's a way you discipline. And then there's discipline I call "hands off" discipline. Uh, when Ed again was about 5, we were with a bunch of families in a backyard at some kind of picnic, and he kept walking off in the woods, a little open woods there by himself. And I'd go back and get him. "Shewt! Come back! You can't go over there... Stay over here..." Man, a little while, I'd look around, there he'd go again. Run over-I'd go get him, bring him back. Third time he wandered off, I just said, Jo Beth said, "There goes Ed..." I said, "Let him go". But, I went and stalked behind the tree, stealth-you know, Spider Man, and I just watched him all the way, kept him in sight. He didn't know I was around. He just wandered around. He was having a big time by himself, walking in the woods, wandering around.
In a minute, he went around and started to kind of run. He realized-he looked around. I just watched him-Ah, hah hah! Hands off discipline, see? Finally I heard him say, "Ed's lost"! And I said, "Yeah, let him be lost a while. Good for him". I had to go back and get him. And then finally he began to whimper, and I came out and said, "Son..." Oh yeah, he was glad to see me then, you know? But sometimes, there's hands off. You have to be careful with this. Somewhere here, parents, you've got to use a little common sense and discernment, you know. I don't mean to overtax you, but you have to be careful; but there's a hands-off discipline. You kind of got to let it go all the way out and run itself out. This happens in all stages of life, by the way, different ages, different situations. Hands off. Then there's hands on discipline.
And you have to be careful with this. You don't want to hurt your child physically, but we've had spoons, and paddles, and a little bit of belt-uh, you know, all those things-not to hurt, but to make sure that they understand the seriousness of this offense. There's some hands on discipline. So, how do we discipline? There's verbal discipline. There's grounding. There's time-out, hands off, hands on. But this is a big thing here is, what do we discipline? Right? What do we discipline? First of all, you don't sweat the small stuff. You don't every time discipline the small stuff with your sons and daughters. You just don't do it. 'Cause anybody has a teenager, you'd be ticked off 24 hours a day, wouldn't you? I mean, you understand that. But you don't discipline that small stuff all the time... Now, sweat the big stuff, because you discipline the big stuff all the time. And look at the big stuff.
See what that is. Now we discipline the big stuff, and you discipline the big stuff every time, mom and dad, and you win every time! Whatever the cost, whatever the price, whatever the discipline, you have to win the big stuff. Has to do with morals, ethics, and health. Here's some of it: Lying. Cheating. Swearing. Drugs. Alcohol. Reckless driving. Sexual promiscuity. Vandalism. Disrespect to adults, and there are other things. Don't sweat the small stuff. Don't deal with it every time, but the big stuff, you step out and you deal with that decisively, permanently, and you check. You don't give up. You stay with it. You be relentless. Sweat the big stuff, parents.
Now, by the same token, what do you do when you see little stuff becoming big stuff? You deal with that at the right time. Here's little Billy. "Oh, he's 2 years old! Isn't that cute? A little temper tantrum! Oh, Look at Billy! Ohhhhh! He is so mad! Oh, Billy! Oh, that's so cute! He's having a little temper tantrum"! Billy's 12. Now Billy is not 2; he is 12, and now he's fighting all the way in school. He comes home and dad, "Attaway, Billy! Don't let them boys run over! You just hit them back! I want..." and all of a sudden, you've got Billy-he's defending himself. He's fighting everybody. He's got problems all the time in school because he's so violent.
Now he's 21. Billy slaps his wife. It's not silly any more now, is it? Billy's 32. He throws his son through a screen door. It's not, not so funny now, is it? See, sometimes, you've got to deal with the small stuff, whether it's lying, or violence, and you see it progressing there; you've got to deal with that small stuff because it will soon become big stuff, and that's where you have to keep your eyes in your head, open to one another and to God Almighty and remember the principles of discipline. Parents! Understand this cardinal rule of parenting. Discipline without a relationship leads to rebellion. Ephesians 6, if you want a Scripture. Don't antagonize your children to wrath, see? No relationship. Discipline within a relationship leads to maturity. You can take down that fence, and they'll be able to make it in this world as a son or a daughter of God.
Parents, pay attention! Please! Pay attention to the feelings of your kids. Don't run over those feelings. Be wise and circumspect in your discipline of your kids, like our Heavenly Father, thank goodness, with His grace and forgiveness is wise and circumspect when He disciplines you and me as His children. That's our pattern. And ask these questions seriously and earnestly: why do we discipline? When do we discipline? How do we discipline? What do we discipline? Put those down and make sure you have these immutable cardinal rules operative in the disciplinary area of your relationship with your sons and your daughters, and guess what? A day will come, believe it or not, when your son or daughter will rise up and call you blessed!