How To Keep Your Cool (De Ira) by Seneca. Book blog part 3.



“To someone doling out punishment, nothing is less suitable than anger. A penalty is more useful for correction when the judgement imposing it is more sound.” 


This one hits me as a parent of a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. My kids are currently unregenerate little sinners in need of a savior. There’s nothing they need more right now than patience and grace. But I’m not their savior. I’m their father and as such it is my responsibility to teach them the truth about everything as they grow up and experience this world with all its perils and wonders. I’m also called to do this with patience and grace. The best way to fortify their maturation with patience and grace is to keep anger as far removed from discipline as possible. 

My kids sin and I need to address that sin by “doling out punishment” and Seneca is right, anger has no place in that punishment. Children’s brains are not fully formed so to a certain extent, they literally don’t know what they’re doing. I can NOT take it personally. I have a responsibility to temper my feelings and bring them under sound judgement when I’m disciplining my kids. Not only that, as a Christian my mind is being transformed by God (Rom. 12:2). As I progress in my sanctification, I have no excuse for withholding sound judgment in my discipline. 

I want the penalties I correct my kids with to be useful. I hate punishing them. I’d much rather be playing with them and having fun with them. I want the discipline to be as effective as possible so I don’t have to keep coming back to it. This is accomplished with sound judgment. If anger and personal feelings are intermingled with the punishment of your kids, then you’re interfering with your own objective. Get out of your own way and let discipline take its full effect. Remove anger from the equation of discipline.

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