Love and Discipline

Love and Discipline

I once read a story about a father’s wise advice to his daughter, who was struggling with disciplining her young children.

The father invited her to take a boat ride on a nearby lake.  The boat had two oars and the father told the daughter to take one oar and row.

The boat went in a circle.

Father then instructed daughter to only use the other oar. The boat circled in reverse.

He then had her use both oars and the boat swung straight ahead.

Father said, “Those two oars are like love and discipline. By themselves, a single oar is useless. But balanced in tandem, they work beautifully.  Love without discipline is chaos and discipline without love is harshness. Parenting involves using both love and discipline.”

I believe this story is a strong example of the need for love coupled with discipline.

Discipline is much more than punishment. Its root meaning is to train or teach. It is an integral part of raising children.

Love is also essential. I think of the teacher’s mantra, “Hey, I don’t care how much you know until I know that you care.”

Love, like discipline, is an integral part of child-rearing.

Two oars.

Love and Discipline.


I’m speaking about love and discipline at an area church tonight. I’ll open with the story above.




“Come to the woods for here is rest.”

-John Muir


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