I joined a conversation in progress during fellowship time after church on Sunday, of four young moms, having 19 children between them. They were talking about the subject of children sitting still and listening in church. We attend a Family Integrated Church, and our services are two hours long, so this is a significant subject!
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One mom was saying that she noticed one of the youngest members in a family of 11 children, who was sitting directly in front of her. During the singing of hymns, she said, he kept his hands firmly planted on the top of the chair in front of him. It was suggested that the family must have been “practicing church” at home. A third mom (of 6 young children) mused that, even though she does practice at home, when they get to church, sometimes the training’s forgotten! (Smiles and nodding of heads showed she wasn’t alone.) Another mom of many–I think she has 8 children–who are a little bit older, said with a chuckle that maybe they needed to know the rod was nearby! to which the first mom patted her purse. “Mom of many” said that she’s found this to be true sometimes at home, too. Despite training and practice, her children won’t sit still and listen when she’s teaching or reading sometimes, but she’s noticed (said she with a twinkle in her eye) that when the “rod” that they use for discipline is sitting right out in front of the children, then they’re quiet. They all laughed that maybe the speaker up front needed to hold a rod and wave it once in awhile during his talking! (I pictured a shelf on the wall for the ceremonial placement of “the rod”:) Now that would be funny.
The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. Proverbs 29:15
Don’t we all need to “see the rod” to be reminded to obey at times? This is just human nature. Not only children, but adults are this way. Don’t we adjust our speed when we see the speed limit posted, or a police car going by? Children in school adjust their behavior when the teacher walks in the room (or they used to when I was growing up)! We also should adjust our behavior when we read the Word of God and are reminded of His commandments and the consequences for those who do not fear and obey God.
The rod and reproof both are needed in a child’s life, and if he needs to be reminded by seeing the rod–or knowing it’s handy in mama’s purse–well, that’s alright, too.
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