Tough Love

Sunday, June 8, 2008
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Proverbs 22:6 – Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. (NIV)

The principal of my rural school in the nineteen thirties and forties was convinced that the today's Scripture was the answer to all child-rearing problems. The parents, who supported him completely, backed up his theory of "tough love".

Proverbs 29:15 – The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. (NIV)

In those days, inquiring minds, like mine, were asking, "Where is the love of John 3:16-17 — 'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son … For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him'?" (NIV)

These parents and teachers had no idea of the vast changes these generations of children would experience in the years ahead. The basics still hold, but love, understanding, encouragement, joy, peace, praise, and self-worth have been added to the other side of the equation. The challenging questions of how to raise a child still continue.

The only rule that seems to hold true is that children are all different, and each one has different needs. Wise teachers and parents discover that only through love and understanding, wisdom and personal sacrifice, can the right track be found.

Not only do children need "tough love", but also there are areas in life that adults of all ages need the lessons of discipline as well as the hope of encouragement in order to stay on the right road. We are all children of God and need the love of Jesus Christ in many different forms to get us to our journey's end.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to love us and guide us towards life eternal. We never grow too old to learn new things. Continue to guide us, we pray. Amen.

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Ivie Bozeman <>
Thomasville, Georgia, USA

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