Unpleasant but Necessary
A few days ago, my wife and I were watching Good Morning America. Michael Strahan was interviewing Logan Paul, a celebrity video blogger on YouTube. Paul has been in the news lately for his poor decision in airing controversial footage showing the corpse of an apparent suicide victim in Japan’s Aokigahara Forest.
During the interview, Strahan stated “many parents didn’t know you or anything about your show until this incident. Do you think that parents have a responsibility to know and monitor the content of what their children are watching?” Logan responded, “I curse and make sexual and other inappropriate comments. I am my target audience, the twenty something person looking for something edgy. I think parents should know what their kids are doing, who they are talking to and what they are watching to make sure it is okay for them.”
Okay, stop the presses!! Do we really need someone to tell us that as a parent we should parent or that as a leader we should lead? Probably not; but, sometimes we forget that while it may be nice to be a friend, liked or admired, our first responsibility is to parent, and lead. Oftentimes, this includes the unpleasant, but necessary, task of correction and discipline. Hebrews 5:11 (NOG) explains it this way:
“We don’t enjoy being disciplined. It always seems to cause more pain than joy. But later on, those who learn from that discipline have peace that comes from doing what is right."
It is perhaps necessary at this point to make the distinction between discipline and abuse. Abuse is the use, or better stated overuse, of power to inflict pain, hurt or to gain submission and compliance. Discipline, contrarily, is the use of love, affection and compassion to correct a mistake. Simply stated abuse communicates anger, discipline communicates compassion and love. Neither is pain-free.
You are probably familiar with the adage, “if you spare the rod, you spoil the child.” This modern-day proverb is rooted in Proverbs 13:24 (MSG) which states, “a refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them.” John Rosemond (www.parentingbythebook.com) states “many well-intentioned Christians take these passages and others like them to mean that God is specifically instructing parents to spank children when they misbehave; further, that these spankings should be administered with variations on the general theme of “the rod”: belts, hickory switches, paddles, and the like.
He explains that as used in the Bible “the rod of discipline” is used metaphorically. Therefore, rod-like discipline (a) is consistent and true, (b) emanates from a legitimate authority, and (c) establishes boundaries and compels action and/or change.” However, to correct and discipline effectively it is our responsibility to set the example and communicate clear expectations.
I can offer no better example than when our youngest daughter, many years ago, hosted a friend for a sleepover. As it started to get late, my wife told the girls that it was time to clean up and get ready for bed. Our daughter, Logan, got up and started to put things away. When she turned her friend was still playing. Logan said, “Momma said clean up and get ready for bed.” Her friend merely responded, “she didn’t count to 10.” Logan looked at her and said, “My Momma doesn’t count so start cleaning up.”
It is our responsibility as parents, leaders, siblings, friends, church members, or whatever other role we may have, to correct or discipline others. It is equally our responsibility to accept the correction or discipline of others when we make mistakes.
Logan Paul’s “poor decision” resulted in an immediate backlash and condemnation via social media. He has suffered significant financial loss and has been disciplined by YouTube. He also learned a significant life lesson regarding the responsibility that accompanies his celebrity status. He has accepted responsibility for his “poor decision” and even asked his fans not to defend his actions because they were in poor taste and are indefensible. More importantly, he has now taken his experience and used it to promote a dialogue and created a video titled “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow”
“I know I’ve made mistakes. I know I’ve let people down. But what happens when you’re given an opportunity to help make a difference in the world?” he says in the clip. “It’s time to learn from the past as I get better and grow as a human being. I’m here to have a hard conversation as those who are suffering can have easier ones.”
“It’s time to start a new chapter in my life as I continue to educate myself and others on suicide,” he says. “I’m humbled and thankful to say, this is just the beginning.”
I believe that Mr. Paul’s remorse is sincere and pray that he is successful in his suicide prevention campaign. However, as Proverbs 29:17 (TPT) reminds us “Correct your child and one day you’ll find he has changed and will bring you great delight.”