Part II on the topic of Unity in Discipline
So how does one implement discipline and boundaries? It’s built out of relationship. In my tenure as a principal and parent I have learned that discipline without relationship doesn’t work. Josh McDowell says, “Parents first of all need to know one thing. Truth without relationships leads to rejection, rules without relationships leads to rebellion, discipline without relationship leads to bitterness, anger and resentment. If we don’t build loving, caring, intimate relationships with our children it doesn’t matter what we teach them or how much we pray for them, they’ll go to the wayside.”
So to be an effective leader, parent, teacher, or coach developing a relationship with your staff, child, students, or team is the foundation for successful leadership. How do you spell relationship/love to a child? T.I.M.E. Nothing can substitute for quality time. Nothing! The key is discovering what your child’s love language is and spending your time in that area. In his book “The Five Love Languages of Children” Gary Chapman explains that each of us feel love in one of five ways:
1. Quality Time
2. Acts of Service
4. Words of Affirmation
5. Physical Touch
The trouble most of us have in developing relationships with others is we think others feel love the same way we do. Take for instance my wife who is an “acts of service” person while I’m a “words of affirmation” person. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell her how beautiful she is and how much I love her until I do the dishes, vacuum the house, or fix something. It’s like we are speaking a foreign language to each other unless we learn each other’s individual love language. I have read hundreds of self-help and marriage books and believe Gary’s book is one of the most important investments a couple can make in improving the quality of their and their children’s life. You can order it online or pick up a copy in the school office.
It took Lucia and me a while to ascertain each of our child’s individual love languages. Knowing their love language will help in the disciplining process. If they are a “words of affirmation” person you must choose your words carefully or they will be scarred for a long time. Did you ever wonder why kids from the same family could turn out so differently given the same parents? They feel loved or rejected differently from the other children given the same input from the parent.
Quality time is not teaching them math on the TV remote. It’s finding out what their interests, hobbies, and likes are and building your time around that. It’s staying up after your bedtime sitting on kitchen counters and making pancakes with your teenager to find out how things are going. It’s never convenient with a teenager, but the investment will pay off in the long term. I’m writing this blog at a Starbucks as I wait to meet my 23 year old to hang out for a while. She called me to get together. So, building relationships works, because one day your job won’t be to discipline them anymore but be their greatest cheerleader.