One of the hats I wear at Christ Church Academy is the hat of disciplinarian. When I began this role, all I saw were the problems of dealing with unhappy parents and having to enforce student discipline. What fun, right? Thankfully, I am starting to see my role much differently as the school year progresses. One of the more significant changes is my understanding of the opportunity present in every disciplinary situation to teach and to discipline students.
I am beginning to understand that nearly every time I speak to a student regarding discipline, I have the opportunity to remind the student of God’s standard for our behavior. We at CCA, hope that reminding the students of God’s standards will result in the student’s confessing sin and repenting, according to God’s grace. We also hope that non-Christian students come to realize how impossible it is to achieve God’s standard for righteousness apart from the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Disciplining students is teaching students and Godly discipline teaches all of the students about God. Consistent, effective discipline, done over and over again, day in and day out, brings students back to what God has said in His Word, to what He has defined as right, and to what He has declared to be sin. Wow! What a tremendous opportunity to love and encourage children toward righteous behavior!
One passage of Scripture that has influenced my philosophy of discipline is Ephesians 3:14-15, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.” As I fulfill the role of father to my children, I am to look to God the Father for my example. I am to look to Him to see how He loved His Son. I am to look to Him to see how He loved and disciplined His people. So many times, children make the mistake of projecting the attributes and the shortcomings of their own father onto their understanding of God’s character. This is an understandable mistake. But with this in mind, if I do my job well, my children will be better able to understand God’s character and His love for them through me. They will be able to more accurately comprehend God’s love for them as children adopted into His family.
At Christ Church Academy, we understand the concept of loco parentis (in the place of the parents). During the school day, we are serving temporarily in the place of the parents so Ephesians 3:14-15 applies to us well.
So, how does God discipline? Proverbs 3:12 says that “the Lord reproves (disciplines) him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” Based on this scripture, it’s clear that our motivation for discipline must be love and delight for the child. This is part of God’s example to us as our Father. This means that school teachers, faculty and administrators must understand the biblical concepts of love, justice, forgiveness, restitution, mercy, swift, and swift and painful discipline. They must understand the nature of children and why children need discipline. Teachers must also understand the difference based on God’s Word and rules based on personal preferences and culture.
Through discipline, we must shepherd their hearts to know and love God. That is our goal. We are not after behavior modification to mold children to behave a certain way to suit our conveniences. No, the purpose of discipline is to train up a child to know and love God. This is especially crucial in your role as parent. For a deeper study on what the scriptures say about discipline, I recommend the book titled “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Tedd Tripp. He explores, in great depth, the concepts briefly covered in this post.
Please pray for us as we pray for you in shepherding our little ones to know God and to give Him glory!