My subdivision is filled with numerous neighbors and dogs that like to walk. You might think I am trying to tell you that my neighborhood is filled with people who like to walk their dogs. But, that is not always the case. In some instances the dogs walk their owners. How can I tell the difference? By who has control of the leash!

Now, I am in no way about to tell you that children should be considered or treated as pets. I merely want parents to know they can learn some important lessons from my neighbors. For example, when God places a child into your life, He appoints you as his or her caregiver. Even though He does not want you to rule with complete control over this child, you should recognize and parent with the authority God has given you. However, exercising authority, even if it is rightfully yours, can at times be difficult. For instance, two weeks ago I witnessed a dog lead his owner through a series of holly bushes and the owner painfully followed. I haven’t seen either of them since. I wonder if the owner corrected the dog’s behavior, or did he merely choose another route to avoid additional calamity? Similarly, some parents avoid disciplining their children because it is confrontational, makes their child unhappy, or inhibits their child’s ability to express himself. The Bible tells us that no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11).

Parenting is no walk in the park. It takes persistent and purposeful training based on biblical truth. When your child attempts to exercise his independence, remember the authority God has given you. Rather than allow him to exert his own way, choose to lovingly guide and direct your child in a manner that is pleasing to Christ. You may not see immediate results, but with consistent training you can trust that God is working to produce qualities of righteousness within your child.