Friday, September 26, 2008

Train in Righteousness

I am currently reading a book by Ginger Plowman called "Don't Make Me Count To Three!". I have read another book of Ginger's called "Heaven At Home" which I highly recommend. Anyway, my sweet friend Joy gave me "Don't Make Me Count To Three" when I was recovering from my surgery and had some extra time on my hands to read. I haven't finished it yet, but I was thoroughly convicted by something I read today.

I am reading the chapter on how to verbally reproof your child when disciplining. Ginger reminds us that we are not only to point out our child's sin, but we are to train them in righteousness (tell them what to do INSTEAD of sinning). For example, here's a big pet peeve of mine: whining. When Grace whines, I remind her of the Bible verse that says "Do everything without complaining or arguing." Sometimes we sing the Steve Green song, "Do Everything Without Complaining." However, I have not been training her what to do INSTEAD of whining. The Bible says we are to be thankful for all things. When reproofing Grace for whining, I should also be reminding her to have a thankful attitude to God for what He has done for us.

Today in the car I put this plan into action. After I took her to the playground this afternoon, we went to Payless Shoes to find a new pair of tennis shoes. She didn't want to go to the store and started whining and crying to go home. I verbally reproofed her for whining and complaining and reminded her that God commands us to do all things without complaining. Then I reminded her how much we have to be thankful for today (we just played on the playground for a whole hour, we are going to buy a brand new pair of shoes, we have a nice car with air conditioning after playing hard and getting hot, we met nice friends on the playground, etc.) She started naming several things she was thankful for and her whole attitude changed.

This command to train in righteousness is applicable to every discipline situation. I need to always be thinking how to reach the heart of the matter and model for Grace how to do/say things in a way that is honoring to God. Really, when you think about it, Biblical discipline has four parts:

1. Reproof (point out sin)
2. Train in righteousness (model correct way to act)
3. Chastise (spank, give consequence, etc.)
4. Repent/Pray (ask forgiveness)

When we see our child forcibly grab a toy out of another child's hands, it's easy to do number 1&3&4. "Stealing is wrong. We do not take toys from other children!" (Spank, spank). Now go ask your friend to forgive you..."Please forgive me for grabbing your toy while you were playing." If we include training in righteousness (#2), it should sound something like, "Your friend was having fun playing with that toy. When you took it from him, you put your own desires above that of your friend. We show love for our friends by being happy that they are happy. If you want to play with that toy, you can ask nicely if you can play WITH them, or wait until they are done playing then ask permission." Then you can have your child practice asking permission in a nice way.

It sounds like a lot of work, and it is! But, just like riding a bike, when we spend time training in righteousness, our children will think and act in Biblical principals.

I have a LOT of work to do in this area (#2), and I hope that God will give me wisdom and patience to administer Biblical discipline. I have only touched on many of the practical applications of Biblical discipline that are discussed in Ginger's book. I haven't yet read the chapter on spanking. I'm sure more thoughts will be coming...........

1 comment:

zusjames said...

Well said. I thought of you SEVERAL times today and what you'd written. Being a mommy is hard work! P.S. Glad your garage sale was so great. Super excited for Todd (and you and Grace)! Praying for a quick sell!