Recently, I was talking to a friend who has a young child. She was expressing to me the challenges she has found in raising her son. As I listened, she described how she allows him “the freedom” to roam all over the house unrestricted, how she doesn’t like disciplining him even though she knows he probably needs it, and how he doesn’t have a set bedtime. I thought about the beauty of boundaries.
Sure, raising children to be “free range” may be the latest trend, but is it really good for the child? As parents, we want to do what’s best for our children. Usually, though, that means laying down some basic rules and disciplining our children when they break those rules. Most children would never institute rules for themselves and certainly far fewer would actually discipline themselves. Rather, rules and discipline are the responsibility of parents who love their children and desire their safety, both physical and spiritual.
This afternoon, in the still and quiet of the house, I was reading Psalm 119 when I came to these two verses:
“I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.”
“I remember your ancient laws, O Lord,
and I find comfort in them.”
We don’t typically think of “precepts” as providing “freedom” or “laws” as a source of “comfort.” Rather, most people today perceive rules as restricting and confining, something made to be broken. Yet, true freedom can only be found in obedience to God’s commands. When we follow God’s way and seek forgiveness when we stray, we are freed to be who God wants us to be and we are saved from the powerful grip of sin.
Children without rules and discipline will suffer.
“Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.
Punish him with the rod
and save his soul from death.”
What are your feelings about boundaries when it comes to raising your children? Do you see them as restricting or freeing?