Monday, February 16, 2009

Don’t Make Me Count To Three – Ch. 5

Welcome to the fifth week of our book study through Ginger Plowman’s Don’t Make Me Count To Three!  This was the first chapter in Part II of our book.  If you didn’t read, no worries!  Just join along with us anytime.  It’s quick and easy to get caught up.

I don’t know about you, but taming the tongue is a work in progress for me.  It seems like the older I get, the more I must exercise my “mouth filter.”  Part of this comes from my background as a band director, where I had to act a certain way to maintain control of large groups of teenagers at once!  Another area I fight is my natural tendency towards sarcasm…not good when disciplining children.  I’ve had to go back and apologize to Grace for things I said or an angry tone of voice I used when she disobeyed.

Ginger reminds us that reproof is not just calling attention to our child’s sin, but teaching our children how they violated God’s law and how to change.  My favorite quote from this chapter is on pg. 58:

Chastising for the wrong without teaching them the right can exasperate them, provoke them to fear and anger, and fail to result in inward change.”

Unfortunately in today’s world, society frowns upon spanking because so many people (even Christians!) do it the wrong way.  When the rod is administered in an angry and emotional way without biblical reproof, the results can be disastrous.  In severe cases, children can develop fearful and self-loathing attitudes.  Others become very angry and aggressive themselves, therefore repeating the cycle to the next generation.  Ginger has a lot more to say about biblical use of the rod in later chapters…

Back to reproof…I liked how Ginger compared the passage from Proverbs 29:15 (“The rod and reproof give wisdom…”) to the passage from Ephesians 6:4 (“…bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”).  This shows that God’s overall plan for raising children has not changed between the OT/NT.  God’s plan is for us to administer consequences AND instruct them verbally.  If we don’t, our children will become more disobedient (Proverbs) and/or suffer emotionally (Ephesians). 

The next section talks about teaching “in the moment” and allowing our children to practice the correct way to act.  For example, a person can’t learn to play the piano by listening to verbal lectures on hand position and music theory.  A commitment of time actually practicing the piano is necessary to build skills.  In the same way, we must be committed as parents to take the time to practice and build Godly skills in our children.  It’s the only way they will learn to think and act in a wise way on their own. 

The correct use of verbal reproof is an area that I need to continually be working.  I am always praying for self-control and patience when dealing with disobedience.  If God can forgive me and love me when I continually sin against him, then I want to show the same love and compassion for my child. 

I hope that many of you will join in and comment on what particularly struck you in this week’s reading.  Even if you didn’t read, feel free to comment below on the topics raised…I look forward to reading them!  Stay tuned for a post next Monday on chapter six.

6 comments:

Thankful Paul said...

Hello! :)

deanna said...

I know what you mean about having to curb the sarcasm. This has been a constant problem for me. When I began to hear my children parrot me, I realized how horrible I was sounding and had to repent to them and to the Lord.
On the other hand, I have noticed that Ginger often gives examples of instructing her children through the use of questions, ie,"Sweetheart, can you try that again and this time use a gentle tone of voice?" I wonder if she encountered the same problem I did with my kids. When I would ask them to do something, they would ask in return, "Are you telling me to do it, or asking me if I want to?" I would explain that I was instructing them in a polite fashion, but I expected them to comply. However, I began to try to find ways to politely TELL them to do things when they were not really being given an option.

Sarah said...

The thing that really struck me most in this chapter is the quote from J.C. Ryles' book that says before we do anything that concerns our children we should ask how this will affect their souls. I think my children would benefit greatly if only I could think of this everytime before I opened my mouth to speak to them. How is what I am fixing to say going to affect their souls?
I also appreciated her comments on teaching in the moment and training for godliness; particularly the part about having to do it over and over and physically demostrating what they should do correctly. These are principles I use in schooling my children all the time. We review and review and review until the facts and concepts are second nature to them, and discipline is not any different.

Joanna J. said...

Deanna,
It's funny you talk about politely telling our kids to do things. The other day Grace was whining about wanting a snack. So I said, "Can you ask me in a nice way?" She said, "Yes, I can!" and walked off to do something else. So I had to go get her and make her come back and ask me the correct way. I learned not to say, "Can you....?" but "You need to..."

Joanna J. said...

Sarah,
Thanks for the reminder that discipline takes time and repetition before our kids start to internalize what we are trying to teach them. It also takes practice and repetition for us to discipline the way we are supposed to!

Christa said...

The Gumnazo Principle resonated with me. I feel my biggest struggle is expecting my child to remember what the correct response is, if we have dealt with it once. I can barely do that, much less a 4 year old! I am really valuing the reminder to not just discipline but also train, and to keep them in balance. I have to get off the computer now and go make soup! Hopefully, I'll be able to comment on chapter 6 on Monday.