When I do attendance in my classes I prefer to ask a question instead of going down the list for a "here" or a "present". Today I asked about discipline -- specifically spankings. I only had 4 out of my 80-some students who had never recieved a spanking. Some had stories of the infamous 'wooden spoon' breaking on their backsides, but the repetition of that story made me think it was an urban ledgend. I followed up by asking whether they thought it was successful and would spank their own children in the future. The majority said yes.
    One memory came to my mind as I thought about how my parents disciplined me and what I learned from it. I had a friend over and we decided to climb onto the roof of our house. We climbed up the railing of the deck onto the first level of the roof and shuffled up to the apex. We could look over onto the street and see the vehicles coming. I took a risk and climbed to the next level and returned down. As we were looking onto the street I saw my dad's vehicle approaching. We quickly crawled down and met my dad at the garage. He told me that he would have to give us a spank for every level we climbed up on...in a minute. I was so embarassed for my friend so I told her that if we were very helpful and good then maybe my dad wouldn't spank us. My dad knew what was up as he conveniently took out the lawnmower to be cleaned. "Can we help dad?" We were two little helpers and eventually my dad said it was time for my friend to go home, without a spank! That experience taught me the feeling of knowing I was wrong, that I did something foolish and dangerous. It also showed me the power of a repentant heart and the forgiveness of a father.
    I've often thought about my role as a mother as being important for more than producing well behaved children but as setting them up for a better relationship with God. By being disciplined by someone I know loves me makes it easier for me to understand this principle when God disciplines me. That being said, our parents are imperfect or "evil" as Jesus says. "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11). My story could have incorrectly reinforced a 'works' theology if I thought that we didn't get spanked because we worked hard and paid it back instead of my father's mercy. My father could have been manipulative in getting us to do work for him to pay away our guilt. So if this verse works for gifts, maybe it works for discipline. If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good discipline to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good discipline to those he loves!
    This is a bit scattered and lengthy, but God is still teaching me. Some lessons are short, profound and clear while others are a work in progress.