“Yeah, you’ll probably always walk with a limp.” the orthopedic doc declared when I was nearly 13 years old and had just gotten out of a cast for my broken leg.
“What?! I’m just a kid,” I said mournfully.
“Yes, but a kid who won’t listen to advice,” he shrugged.
“I’ll listen, I’ll listen, honest!”
He shrugged again, explaining the plan for recovery which included keeping the much-hated crutches for an additional month past my birthday after a long three months already. Then he prescribed another month with a cane. Me, a brand new 14-year-old, was going to hobble around with a cane? But his instructions made sense and I was eager not to limp the rest of my life. It was a pain, but worth it.
 
Parenting as Physical Therapy — This memory came to my mind as I was speaking to a Kinder mom. As we discussed her child’s tendencies and the challenge to see long-term change that stretched beyond the daily reminders of how to act and what not to do, I saw that this child needed training similar to the crude physical training I had undergone.
The doctor’s instructions included pointing my foot and toes straight ahead regardless of the pain. Using the crutch and cane, some of the pain could be averted as weight was taken off of the atrophied muscles. But I had to diligently, day after day for 60 days, force my leg to develop the right habits.
Discipline Is Painful but Rewarding — God gives us a picture of this training in Hebrews 12:7-13, but especially starting at verse 11:  All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”
It was painful for me to do the right thing with every single step. I had to force my toes to point straight. If I had gone with what was comfortable my leg, as it says above, would have been put out of joint — my ankle, my knee and then my hip.
As a parent, you are like a physical therapist. You are training your children to point their character in the right direction, to point their behavior and speech and attitudes in the right direction. Step by step, hour by hour, day by day training them to follow our Savior until it becomes second nature in their hearts.
And our children will perceive us much like we do a physical therapist — unsympathetic, unyielding, uncaring of the pain of the training. But true compassion for a therapist is to ignore the tears, always pushing for the fruit of the training; in our case “the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
Persevere. Child raising is a loooong season. But God guarantees a harvest of good character if we do not give up. (Gal. 6:9)
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *