Healthy Discipline without breaking the Spirit

May 9, 2011


Healthy Discipline without breaking the Spirit


During my morning devotional, I read a short article by Dr. Charles Stanley entitled “What does it mean to discipline a child without breaking his spirit?”  It caused me to ponder how important healthy discipline is to all of us no matter what age we are.

Everyone is born with a self-will that must be brought into submission in order to have happiness, fulfillment, and a healthy life.  That requires discipline in all aspects of our life.  Discipline by God, our parents, our environment, our boss, our friends (if they truly are a friend), our life experiences, our health, and our own desire to live a happy, fulfilled, healthy life leads to that happy, fulfilled, and healthy life.

Who we are deep inside (our spirit) and our actions (behavior) determine the extent of the needed discipline.  Discipline is often needed to control our behavior.  Yet our spirit need not be destroyed by the discipline.  An example of discipline without breaking the spirit could be:  You love chocolate chip cookies.  There is a whole platter of freshly baked cookies setting in front of you.  You know you really shouldn’t eat any because you have been trying to lose a few pounds by cutting back on sugar and carbs.  But you really love chocolate chip cookies!  What to do?  Can you discipline yourself to eat only one?  Or should you refrain completely?  If you refrain completely, will you still have that deep longing for a chocolate chip cookie?  Will you break your spirit by depriving yourself or will it lift your spirit by knowing you made the decision to take care of your health?  There may be different answers for different folks.  Deep inside you know if you give in and eat several cookies, you will feel guilty and not be proud of yourself thus you have damaged your spirit for a few minutes of pleasure.  Will it be worth it?  How about if you discipline yourself to eat only one cookie?  You take your time by taking small bites and enjoying a cup of tea with it (I’m a tea drinker).  You used discipline to not overdue yet you did not break your spirit by going overboard or depriving yourself completely.  Every individual must chose for themselves the best action to take.  As for me, I would chose to slowly eat one cookie along with a cup of tea.  That would be very satisfying to me and I could feel good about my decision and discipline.  Your decision might be different.

Refusing to listen to your inner self, God, your parents, your spouse, your boss, your best friend, your body, your doctor, your health, etc. can break your spirit.  Dr. Stanley points out that in order not to break your child’s spirit, you need to listen to your child and place value on their opinion and feelings.  It is demeaning to not be allowed to express yourself no matter what your age.  Another way to break the spirit of a child is to discipline without an explanation or to discipline out of anger because that creates confusion and can cause the child to question your love.  Even as adults, we need to understand the reason behind discipline.  Most adults know that eating a whole platter of chocolate chip cookies would be bad for their health and that there could be consequences such as gaining 5 pounds overnight, having bad indigestion, and maybe even losing a good night’s rest; thus your spirit is definitely broken while you are suffering the consequences of your bad behavior yet you may wake up the next day with a new determination to make a better decision next time.  If a child understands why they are being disciplined and the consequences of their bad behavior, it will help them bounce back with an unbroken spirit.  I have to admit, I did not always discipline my children properly during their growing up years.  On the other hand, my husband almost never disciplined our children without ending the discipline with an explanation in the way of a heart to heart talk and a great big hug.

Dr. Stanley also warned against comparing one child with another child.  We are all individuals, that’s the way God made us.  We all grow, learn, and develop abilities at different levels.  Harsh criticism can break our spirit.  However constructive criticism given with love and consideration can go a long way toward helping others grow.  How can a child or an adult continue to seek to be the very best they can be if their spirit is broken?

God has given each of us His unconditional love, forgiveness, and willingness to listen which provides a strong sense of value and security.  That strong sense of value and security is necessary to implement discipline in our life, enable us to accept all criticism as constructive and move forward with a soaring spirit!


God Bless and Keep Soaring!


Pat Moon

  Pat is a grandmother who started as an Independent GNLD Distributor in 1985 because of family health concerns. After experiencing positive results for several family members, she chose to share the whole food nutritional supplements and natural vitamins with other people. Her confidence in GNLD'S Whole Food Nutritional Supplements and Natural Vitamins has continued to grow because they work. Her goal is to help others have the BEST REAL HEALTH possible and slow the aging process.  The products Pat uses and features are:

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Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.

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