«Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear» (Deuteronomy 21:21).
This was the ultimate discipline for a disobedient son or daughter. Parents had the responsibility of severely disciplining a rebellious offspring, but if that did not resolve the problem, they should be handed over to the authorities, who would apply the death penalty. For God, the discipline of our sons and daughters and obedience to parents are a matter of life and death.
There was a mother who was visiting her son in prison. He was there for murder. He had run over a child, while he was fleeing from police who were chasing him because he ran through a stop sign. The son said, «I didn’t commit premeditated murder; I’m here because I got used to breaking laws and not respecting limits.»
«Oh, son! Even when you were little you were such a difficult child. When I told you to do something, you would challenge me and throw a tantrum that I just couldn’t stand, so I let you do what you wanted as long as you were quiet and happy. Even when you were three years old, when I told you, ‘Eat your vegetables so you will grow up to be strong and healthy,’ you would say, ‘I don’t want to be strong and healthy! I don’t care; leave me alone!’ And when I told you ‘Clean your room,’ you would answer me, ‘I’m not going to clean anything; if you want it clean, clean it up yourself.'»
And her list of complaints went on. Her son interrupted her and said, «That’s enough, Mom. Just tell me, why is it that you and Dad, being adults, believed and obeyed such a young child?»
If your son or daughter was on the edge of a cliff, about to fall off, and you were holding their hand, would you hang on with all your strength, or gently so you wouldn’t hurt them? Be responsible, and hold on tight, with good discipline, and you will save them from the precipice of life in society. No one they end up hurting will feel sorry for them. They will understand that if you care for them and teach them, it is because you love them, and not because your own comfort and free time are more important to you.
«Teach them to obey. Let them see that your authority must be respected. This may seem to bring them a little unhappiness now, but it will save them from much unhappiness in the future.»—Child Guidance, ch. 46, p. 271.