A mom relayed to a group of women recently that she had gotten "sloppy" with disciplining her children. She shared that a few of the problems created from it included ignorning parents' requests, back-talking, and bad attitudes. Her statement gave me pause.
If I'm honest, many days it is all too tempting to be "sloppy" with discipline. Let's face it: discipline usually breaks the temporary peace of the moment. On those mom's-in-need-of mercy days when multiple children are crying more than usual, throwing fits more than usual, and generally acting up more than usual, it is very, very tempting to ignore a seemingly smaller infraction--choosing short-term peace over the duty to discipline.
"The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother."--Proverbs 29:15.
What "a child left to himself" means to me is exactly that--a mom doesn't correct when she should, essentially turning a blind eye. Whether it's a spanking, a time-out, or a discussion about how the situation should have been handled differently, the mom chooses not to act. She just ignores the behavior and leaves the child to himself. What is the outcome? Her son will grow up to be a disgrace.
Sloppy discipline carries over into other areas of life too. We can exhibit sloppiness in our housekeeping by not doing what we should be doing when we should be doing it; we can show a sloppy lack of discipline in our spending habits, our eating habits, our exercise habits or lack thereof (something I am working on), even personal habits like gossip, being critical, and more.
Following through with necessary discipline will cause less peace in the moment but more peace down the road.
How can we be less sloppy and more disciplined today?
Correction demands that we act. We cannot stand idly by and ignore misbehavior or outright defiance (even though yes, it is sometimes easier in the short-run to let it slide. But as the mom shared, letting it slide was being sloppy).