It seems as if it was not so very long ago when I was a new mom myself, asking the Lord, my mother, and all my married friends for advice on parenting and discipline. And now that my daughter is a mother herself, and our grandchildren are in varying toddler and young child ages, she is facing the same questions.
There are so many parenting advice books out there, it is hard to know which has the best information. But you can’t go wrong by following the torah of discipline, God’s way of parenting and raising children, found in the Scriptures. The last time I studied Genesis, I found a pattern which the Lord employed in dealing with both Adam’s sin and Cain’s sin. Repeating patterns is one of the literary devices employed in Torah, and the purpose of the repeating pattern is to draw our attention to it so that we can learn from it. Here is the repeating pattern:
1) DEFINE. The law which was not to be transgressed was made very clear beforehand. The consequence for breaking the law was made very clear beforehand. (Gen 2:16-17, Gen 4.3-4 – assuming that Cain and Abel knew the torah of bringing offerings).
2) TRAIN. Understand that sin desires to rule over you, but you must rule over it. In other words, a child needs to understand that temptations come, and when it does they will WANT to disobey mom and dad, or break the rule, but that they are able to exercise self- control and choose to do right (Gen 3.1-6, Gen 4.7). I know I am much better prepared to say “no” to the chocolate chip cookie when I have a strategy of what I will do when the cookie calls, LOL. Let’s not deny our children the same useful tool of knowing what to expect and having a plan of action.
6) COMFORT. And although you do not see it in Genesis, you do in Isaiah, the principle of comfort after discipline. For the first half of the book of Isaiah is judgment for sin, but the second half is Comfort, comfort, O My people.