Babies. Aren’t they THE BEST? They come into this world completely dependent on mommies and daddies. Not a care in the world, just meet their basic needs and watch how they draw you into an unbreakable bond ~ where their every coo lights up your world. God planned it that way. I’m convinced He knew that we would have to fall in love with them as babies, because toddlerhood and beyond would tax even the most patient parent!

My name is Stacy Cardoza, I’ve been a wife for 30 years, and a mom for 26. I’ve raised 4 human beings – and I happen to think they’re quite awesome. Not perfect, but awesome! So, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned along the way, and a few things that God has just laid on my heart to share with you, if that’s OK…

Moms and Dads are SUPER important!! Our job is possibly the hardest, and most important job that exists (imho). God has some important words for parents – we are called to love our kids, teach our kids. And – we are called to discipline them. Yep – that’s in the Bible. A lot!

It’s easy to love our kids when it’s all rainbows and sunshine. But what about when they’re 3, and have just pooped their underwear for the third time in as many hours (not because they were sick, but because they were too busy playing to stop and “go” to the bathroom!)? What about when your son’s 11, and absolutely refuses to shower because he just did on Sunday (and it’s Thurs after daily doubles)? Or when you get a call from the teacher asking if you knew your daughter wore THAT to school again (after just being grounded for the same thing last week)? Or the teenager who just screeched that you COULD NEVER understand what it’s like to be a teenager… Um – I could go on and on. The list is endless.

And I started thinking about my list of my acts of rebellion. My failures as a parent, as a wife, as a friend. How many times did I fail to live up to God’s expectation of me – when I KNEW the right thing, but it was just too easy to take my road and not His? He still loved me. He knew my heart, and loved me anyway. He saw who He created me to be, and kept drawing me back to His path.

But – and here’s the kicker parents – my acts of disobedience were not without consequences. The Lord loves me so much, he would not leave me to my own transgressions without consequences that would lead me back to Him. The Bible is filled with story after story of love, forgiveness, and CONSEQUENCES. Because He is righteous and just – so are His methods. And, I learned. I grew. I am still growing.

This is where I’m concerned that many parents today lose their way just a bit. I see most parents have the “Love” part of parenting down pat. But, so many parents today have fallen short of the discipline side of parenting. If we fail to give proper consequences to our children for the disrespectful behavior, then how will they ever learn respect. Respect for their parents – respect for other adults in authority – Respect for God!

I will try to tread lightly on this delicate topic for fear of lynching at the hands of a offended heart. But – my dear Mama friends – it is time to discipline. Children were given parents for a reason. Children are NOT capable of making every decision on their own. Children are not born with an intrinsic “respect gene” or “perfection gene”. In fact, we are all born into sin and imperfection. As parents, it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to teach our children respect – respect for themselves (modesty, hygiene, health) and respect for authority. I have too many times seen children have temper tantrums and parents respond by either giving into whatever the child wants, or allowing a completely disingenuous, half-hearted apology as full penance followed by a reward (say you’re sorry and I’ll buy you a milk-shake…). Or “I’m gonna count to 3” repeated 3 times because the child knows there are really no consequences.

It is only as we teach and discipline our children that they begin to learn what this world expects of them. And much much more importantly, what God expects of them. If your child does not show you, their siblings, their babysitter, or their teacher respect, how in heaven’s name do you ever expect them to respect God??!

If you you have read to this point, and are wondering if your children truly are respectful, I have an idea for you. If you happen to be the mom or dad who is lacking in the area of discipline, it may be hard to recognize it in your own family. So, might I suggest that you reach out to a mature Mama or Grandma type friend, the kind of friend who loves you and your kids, but will tell it to you straight. We all know people like that, just look around you. Who has been in your shoes and made it out the other side? And – did they produce good fruit? Be willing to be humble, listen with an open heart, and know that discipling your children correctly is one of the most loving things you can ever do for them and will last a lifetime.

Proverbs 22:6
Proverbs 19:18
Proverbs 20:11
Eph 6:1