Discipline

"Discipline is what you do for a child, 
not what you punish a child with."  
Keith Willsey.

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Keith was at a track meet one time when one of the other coaches advised him that one of his star athletes had been in the bathroom smoking.  With that coach still there Keith called the athlete over.  "Bill, were you smoking in the bathroom?"

Bill rushed to defend himself.  "It was only three puffs, coach.  Honest!  It wasn't even my cigarettes.  I got one that was almost finished from another guy there."

"You dummy," Keith told him.  "As a long distance runner your lungs are your most important asset.  You take on off and I'll let you know later what we are going to do about this."

After Bill took off Keith turned to the other coach who was known for his stern disciplines.  "You are probably wondering what I am going to do to Bill.  So let me tell you a little bit about him first.  His father left home years ago.  His mother could care less if he comes home or not.  When he first began running for me sometimes he would show up, and sometimes he wouldn't.

"One time when he didn't show up I went out to his house.  The front door is just a board with a string latch on it. I knocked, but nobody came.  So I went around the side of the house and knocked on his window.  His window is two boards with hinges.  I pushed the boards open and there was Bill.  His bed is a board.  The board is only half long enough and it is stuck between piles of junk that might topple over at any minute.  His knees were doubled up almost to his chest so he could get into that space to sleep.

"I yelled at him.  BILL, COME ON, LET'S GO RUNNING."

"OKAY COACH, he said, and just a few minutes later he is piling into the car with me.  There was no time in between that he could have gotten any breakfast, and nothing in his hand.  When I asked, he said he would have to scrounge for food when he got to school."

Keith paused and gazed off into the distance.  "So, how am I going to discipline a kid like this, one that's got nothing and nobody?  

"If I pull him out of the three mile race there is nobody to replace him.  Not one of the boys over there would even try.  Now if it was basketball, every one of them would jump at the chance to get in the game.  But the three miler?  No, not a chance.  Those kids don't have what it takes, and they don't want to have what it takes; as you know, there is no applause for the athlete who wins the three miler.  Nobody really cares who wins.  The long distance runner is out there because S/HE cares."

Keith turned back to the other coach.  "So, how am I going to discipline a boy like that?  I'm going to ask him to run in the mile race too, BEFORE he runs the three miler, so he can clean that smoke out of his lungs."

With his racing successes Bill has gone on since then 
to earn a full scholarship at a major university.

*

If discipline is what we do FOR a child then SELF discipline is what we do for ourselves.  Consequently have I resolved that we are going to begin taking care of this car as if it were the Lincoln Continental I want the Lord to give me. We should begin taking care of our home as if it were the mansion in heaven we hope to have.

In this way we can show the Lord herewith that we deserve what he wants to give us and that we will indeed take care of it with the reverence that he hopes will become natural for us.

***

Be ye therefore perfect

Most of us are familiar with the words of Jesus, Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is perfect.. Many people think the commandment is absurd and pay it no mind. Others think it is a cute phrase because it has a nice roll when it slips off the tongue. Jesus said for you to be perfect, then they pass on to other matters, otherwise untouched.

But the phrase needs more than our passing interest because this is a serious injunction, a genuine destination we should be seeking. Before we launch on the trip it is a good idea to get a bird's view of just where we are headed. We must hear what Jesus did not say. For example, he did not say, Try to be a little bit better on the Sabbath and we'll hope for spill over to a few odd moments during the rest of the week.

Nor did he say, Try to be half as good as your father which is in heaven is perfect.

No, Jesus didn't cut us any slack at all. He didn't even say Try to be almost as perfect as your father which is in heaven is perfect.

Just how far up the road of perfection does he want us to go? All the way. He doesn't want us stopping anywhere this side of Celestial City. This target seems absurd to many, and it seems a daunting task to most while some simply wonder if anything could be worth the effort. A mere handful realize it is a challenge that is reachable, IF Heavenly Father will help us do it.