12 Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.
13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die.
14 Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.
15 My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad;
16 my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.
I really like how Matthew Henry's commentary groups these verses together -- it makes a lot of sense to me. He says that in these verses we find:
1. A parent instructing a child
2. A parent correcting a child
3. A parent encouraging a child
Our children and our grandchildren need to have God's Word placed in their hearts, in their minds and on their lips daily. Why? For instruction and correction, and for the Spirit to utilize to help them in the future. The rod of correction won't hurt him or her, if done in a loving manner, not in anger, but the Bible is key even in that situation:
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
If we keep the nurturing and the attitude of being an example to our children uppermost in our mind, I think it will be hard to go wrong. If we avoid doing things because of our own opinion, or our friend's opinion, or our boss's opinion --- and instead rely on God's Word, we will stay on the right path.
When I read these verses I feel that Solomon is saying that after instruction and correction, it is vitally important to encourage our children. We need to make certain that they know when we notice they did something right. We need to point out and praise the good, the honest, and the caring things they do and say. We've had people say, laughing, that our family is the "hugging-est" family they've seen -- and I am not embarrassed about that; I'm happy! Hugs can comfort, encourage, and love someone through a rough spot!
As parents, we are joyful when a child chooses wisdom and righteousness, just as Solomon said in verse 15 --- and when that child speaks wisely, how glad the parent is! We also feel relief and gladness when, having chosen to do wrong, our child turns away from the wrong - and does what is right.
Just imagine God’s joy when we trust in Christ or when a Christian turns from sin!
Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents.