I had the opportunity the other day to experience what it’s like to use a real rod for guidance.
My two toddlers and I had been to the beach and found ourselves some beautiful pieces of driftwood that we decided to bring home for ‘staffs’. So, of course, when we went for a walk to the park later that day, we had to take our staffs to lean on .
I also took my book to read while the kids played. So I had staff in one hand, book in the other, and no hands free. Oops. Usually in that sort of situation I’d take a backpack or the pram, but for some reason that day I didn’t. There I was walking along with a 2yo who has a fascination with other people’s mailboxes and gates, and a 4yo who loves to run, and no hands to hold onto them with.
So, without thinking, I used the staff. When crossing roads, they held onto it. When one of them started off in an inappropriate direction, I herded them. When they wanted to get into gates and letterboxes, I put the staff between the child and the object. You’ll be pleased to know (given the rod was 2 inches thick) I never, in the three blocks each way, found the need to hit them for their foolishness.
That little journey gave me an image of what consistent gentle discipline should look like. I remembered these words: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”" Is 30:21. That is the gentle way my Father disciplines me.