Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; instead, bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
The teeter-totter slowed until it was a perfect line, parallel to the ground. Two boys grinned at each other across the space; then Trent jumped off. With a slam, Joe hit the ground. And that was the end of the friendship. When the balance was off, the game was no longer fun and the consequences were painful.
Balance is vital in everything we do, especially parenting. God’s Instruction Book tells us that children need both nurture and admonition. Nurturing is the fun side of this teeter-totter. Some parents excel at nurturing: bedtime stories, playing catch, taking walks together. But they fall short when it comes to admonition. To admonish someone is to firmly reprimand, which usually includes an unpleasant consequence for disobedience. Other parents excel at admonishing but fail to balance that with nurturing. Kids need both. When we neglect admonition, kids don’t know where the boundaries are, so they keep pushing until they find them—sometimes all the way to the county jail. But when we neglect nurturing, our children see life as a series of impossible commands with little reward, and they give up. When we err on either side, we provoke our children to anger.
God parents us with both nurture and admonition. How do you respond to the admonition?