Scripture

Proverbs 15:1-14

A gentle answer turns away wrath,

    but a harsh word stirs up anger.

The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
    but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,
    keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
    but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

A fool spurns a parent’s discipline,
    but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.

The house of the righteous contains great treasure,
    but the income of the wicked brings ruin.

The lips of the wise spread knowledge,
    but the hearts of fools are not upright.

The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked,
    but the prayer of the upright pleases him.

The Lord detests the way of the wicked,
    but he loves those who pursue righteousness.

10 Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path;
    the one who hates correction will die.

11 Death and Destruction lie open before the Lord
    how much more do human hearts!

12 Mockers resent correction,
    so they avoid the wise.

13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful,
    but heartache crushes the spirit.

14 The discerning heart seeks knowledge,
    but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.

Reflection

Developmentally and behaviorally speaking, the goal of parenting is self-regulation. Sounds sort of clinical I know, but bear with me. When a child is born, they can do nothing for themselves. An adult must feed them, clothe them, nurture them, and keep them safe. Eventually, however, the child begins to learn to do all these things for themselves. They learn to regulate their bodies, their emotions, and their actions. The typically developing child learns to feed themselves, go to the restroom at the appropriate time and place, communicate their needs, and even soothe themselves in emotional situations. As these children become adults, they should be able to self-regulate all of their behaviors, and most of their emotions.

But this developmental trajectory assumes a positive, healthy environment in which to learn and grow. It assumes there are parents and other adults giving the child limited and narrow boundaries at first, doing most of the work for the child, and then eventually, over time, loosening those boundaries and allowing space for the child to try and fail and try again at each of the developmental tasks. If we don’t have that healthy environment, we never learn to self-regulate.

This is why we often are drawn to people who hold us accountable, provide clear boundaries and hold us to high expectations. Read Ron’s story below about a coach who provided boundaries and expectations when he needed it most.

By Ron Garcia

“Growing up with a single parent, I needed all kinds of mentoring. Lucky for me, I had a coach who would NOT let me get away with anything. He taught me about courage, discipline and hard work. I remember one time, when I went out for football, he pulled me aside and told me, “Son, we'd love to have you out here, but we don't NEED YOU. If you want to play for me, get a haircut.” My hair was so long past my shoulders, and I was with the wrong crowd. It probably wasn’t so much about the hair, but about me needing to turn my life around. This man never cussed, or said anything profane. The way he handled his business always impressed me so much. I knew he cared about me. I loved that man like he was my father. His name was Jerry Taylor. He was a great, Godly man.” 

As adults, we still need someone in our corner helping us along, guiding our path. As kids, we don’t have much choice in who parents or mentors us, or not. But, as adults, we have the power to find help. “The discerning heart seeks knowledge.” If you feel like you could use some extra help, feel like you need to redirect your path, or perhaps your life is out of control, we can direct you to a small group, provide care resources, support groups, mentors and other resources to help you. As a church, we care about you, and we want to help. Email me or our Care Ministries Director, Katie Bonner to get started.

Prayer

God, make me an instrument of your grace in the world. Show me how to be a servant to others in big and small ways. Bring people into my life who will love me unconditionally and help guide me with your wisdom. Give me a community where I may grow deeper in love with you and others. Show me the areas where I need to adapt, grow and mature, and let your Holy Spirit guide me on the path toward a deeper faith. Thank you for your daily grace and mercy. In the name of the Creator, the Savior and the Guide, Amen.