The after school hours of my childhood were spent at my parents' business. Long before Walmart and Target, they owned what used to be called a "5 & 10 department store".
The building was a former movie theater and the balcony had been converted into an office. This space also served as a holding pen for me and my 3 brothers, at least until we were old enough to man a cash register.
The railing of the balcony had been replaced with a half wall, which some of us could see over if we stood on our tiptoes. There were a couple of couches and a small black and white TV which fostered my love for the Three Stooges.
We were unsupervised upstairs until my parents were free at 5 pm. The only rule was that we were not to be seen or heard by the customers on the floor below.
Now and then - perhaps inspired by the Stooges - my brothers and I would get a little rambunctious. Elbowing would turn into wrestling and wrestling would morph into chasing, first across the floor and then across the furniture. Inevitably an argument would break out and we would forget ourselves ... and the rule.
Invariably, as the noise reached a crescendo, one brother would take notice and, horrified, call for an immediate timeout.
We would dash to the half hall next to the open stairwell and look down below in dread.
Too late! Here comes Dad, his feet heavy on the steps, his belt gliding free of the loops around his waist as a sword pulled from its sheath.
The belt was off! We knew in that moment we had completely overstepped the bounds and we were ashamed. And fearful.
"My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD, and do not loathe His rebuke; for the LORD disciplines the one He loves, as does a father the son in whom he delights."
This proverb (3:11-12) is quoted by the author of Hebrews as he discussed believers' occasional need for discipline when we slip into sin and wrongdoing. He reminds us that it is the loving father who disciplines his children.
In Hebrews 12:10-11, he concludes: "Our fathers disciplined us for a short time as they thought best, but God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields a harvest of righteousness and peace to those who have been trained by it."
Proper discipline is meant to open the eyes. To produce a change of heart and a change in behavior.
It's funny - I remember the horror of seeing my Dad take off his belt, but I don't remember him ever actually using it on us.
He didn't take the discipline any further than he needed to in order to get the peace and righteousness he was after.