11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. (Hebrews 12:11, KJV)
You learn something new every day. Today I learned that there is a connotative difference between chastising and chastening. Chastising is more punitive whereas chastening is more corrective in nature. I thought that chastisement was synonymous with discipline, but it is in fact more synonymous with punishment.
Chastening is on my mind because I've taken on more hours at school. In addition to my previous duties as librarian and 8th grade project coordinator, I'm also now taking over morning homeroom and 8th grade Language Arts. Alas, this means that hours I must spend chastening have increased significantly. You see, there are quite a few students who--like typical middle schoolers--have a hard time motivating themselves to get work turned in on time and of a suitable quality. My prayer has been that I receive the wisdom of God to help me know how to reach each student where he/she is, and how to help each one move forward as he/she should. Believe you me, it feels like it will require nothing short of the wisdom of Solomon to figure some of these cases out! But we are instructed that if we lack wisdom, we just need to ask for it and be ready to receive it. I believe my prayers are beginning to be answered already; not because I've figured out just how to make so-and-so turn in his work on time or help such-and-such put more effort into her work. I'm still waiting for inspiration there.
No, my answered prayer so far has come in the form of Hebrews 12:11 being called to mind, along with the various verses in Proverbs about God chastening or disciplining those he loves, just as a father disciplines the children he loves. I was convicted that too often I've chosen the path of least resistance, the path of letting kids fly under the radar because I did not want to clash with them. You see, I have this small problem with wanting everyone to like me all the time. That just isn't going to fly if you are a teacher, parent, or one in authority. When you correct people, they probably aren't going to like it. I'm no exception to this rule. My own kids have been unhappy with me, as have my students. I have to get over my misguided desire to keep peace at ALL costs and remember that I'm not doing anyone any favors by letting them get away with things they shouldn't.
But that doesn't make it any easier to keep calm and serene when you are being argued with, cried at, or yelled at by your young charges. I guess this is just another way in which Jesus invites us (and the Holy Spirit enables us) to follow His example: he spoke the truth in love and said only, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do," when he was being wrongfully executed by those his teachings had offended.