The title of this article is actually quite a facetious dig. It’s aimed at each of us parents who inadvertently sets our children up to fail in life (i.e. fall short) by not allowing them to suffer the indignity of the natural consequences of their actions.
We’ve all done this. Gone to rescue one of our children, returning them from the breech, so as they didn’t have to endure the pain we had to. And all they learned from our attempt at securing for them their emotional safety was how to be unable to exercise, and cope with, the conscience--that powerful tool of the mind and heart which helps us navigate moral right from moral wrong.
We know that the conscience warns us and then if we don’t heed the warning it begins to accuse us. We face self-condemnation, and the moral mind does this for our own protection, so we don’t venture into vice and beyond.
When a parent interrupts this natural process, which God designed, they cause a disconnect to occur in the heart of the child--the child becomes disconnected from relationships affected and inevitably the world.
When we are ‘anesthetised’ from the natural effects of the conscience we set up a quite dangerous set of circumstances. The conscience hence becomes less acutely piqued, and all of a sudden we’ve started to disable such a great life response mechanism; the cauterisation of our moral capacity begins to occur--the very lifeblood of life in relationship itself.
As a steak is seared on both sides on a barbeque to keep the juices in, so the conscience can also be seared so as to not recognise or allow stimulus from the world that would engender growth toward mental, emotional and spiritual maturity. A seared conscience denies the truth--the truth that is designed to set us free!
If we continue numbing our kids from the pains of life, we’ll sear their consciences alright, and, unfortunately, whilst we’ll actually be the ones who should be blamed, they’ll end up being the fools. They won’t even know what they’re doing wrong because they won’t know any differently.
Proverbs is always a safe place to turn to in the parenting task. The sages say:
“Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives”... [and] “To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child” –Proverbs 19:18 & 29:15 (NLT).
If we accept that it is God’s way to discipline us in the normal flow of life, we will also understand that it is God’s way for us to discipline our children.
So, in all of this we’re to ensure that our kids face the desserts of their desires and the ignominy of their actions. Like us, they should suffer the natural consequences of their mistakes and errors, lapses and violations--regardless of intentionality. To alleviate the sentence is to invoke the same mistake again, and to a point where the lesson may very well become lost on them. We are doing them (and ourselves and the world) no favours in this.