By Greg Johnson
You’re very social; you have lots of friends. And because you have so many friends, you feel like you need to talk to them more often than just at school. That means you’re on the phone quite a bit, catching up with everyone on how they’re doing with their homework, how they’re getting along with their brothers and sisters, new things they’ve heard, stuff like that.
You are known to talk on the phone for up to four hours on weekends. Needless to say, Mom and Dad aren’t happy to have you tie up the family phone for so long. Your solution seems logical—get your own phone and number for your room—but we don’t think that’s a good idea.
Finally, we have had enough.
“We need to talk about your phone use,” Dad tells you one evening. “You’ve been on the phone almost nonstop since I got home from work. It’s got to end. From now on, you are limited to thirty minutes a day on the phone.”
“Thirty minutes! Dad, that’s not enough. I’ve got to talk more than that.”
“Sorry. We’ve let you get away with too much for too long. No more. You’ve got to get this phone thing under control, and we’re going to help.”
Well, you do your best to keep to the time limit, but pretty soon you’re sneaking the cordless phone to the bathroom, and doing everything you can to keep in touch with your friends.
As can be expected, Mom catches you and tells Dad. The consequences: a week with no phone privileges.
That makes you mad, but not as mad as two weeks later, when Dad catches you using the phone more than allowed. He gives you a one-month suspension!
Questions to Think On
• When we discipline you, do you think we want to or have to?
• If we never disciplined you for deliberate disobedience, how do you think you’d turn out?
• Do we ever seem unfair in our punishment? In what ways?
• Would you rather we just punish you, or give you a choice as to what “medicine” you need to take?
What Does God Have to Say?
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.