Monday, March 30, 2009

Don’t Make Me Count To Three – Ch. 11

Welcome to the eleventh week of our book study through Ginger Plowman’s “Don’t Make Me Count To Three!”   If you didn’t read, no worries!  Just join along with us anytime.  It’s quick and easy to get caught up.

This was an excellent chapter that reminded me of my job to set the standard for obedience.  I believe that most children, with consistency, will rise to the standard that is set by the authority figure.  This is true for most students in my experience in the educational setting, and it is the same with our personal parenting.  If we allow our children to talk back, throw fits, and disobey without consistent and loving discipline, then that is the standard that we have set as parents.  If, however, we consistently apply biblical parenting strategies and do not tolerate foolish behavior, we are setting a higher standard which prepares their little hearts to eventually (Lord willing) submit to our Heavenly Father.

Once again, this concept is based on ME and MY OBEDIENCE to God’s commands.  It is quite humbling and forces me to look at my own issues and attitudes.  The first time I read this book, I expected it to be a practical, easy-to-follow, step-by-step instruction manual for biblical parenting.  In a small sense it is, because Ginger has given us many wonderful strategies to use in specific discipline situations.  However, much of my journey to become a better parent has been spent in self-examination of my own heart issues.  And that’s not always a comfortable place to be.  How beautiful and ironic it is to realize that in order to teach obedience to our children, WE must be obedient to train them diligently! 

I appreciate Ginger’s definition of complete obedience…all the way, right away, and with a happy heart.  Expecting our children to obey all the way and right away are logical and reasonable.  But obeying with a happy heart?  That is much more difficult!  I think back on all the times I disciplined Grace to obey me, but I allowed her to obey while pouting or crying.  I have now started to focus more on pleasing God with her obedience.  When she obeys without fussing, I say something like, “Thank you for obeying sweetly.  That makes God very happy.”  Then, when she does complain, we can examine her attitude and I can teach her that we obey with both our bodies and our hearts. 

This is a very difficult concept to accept because it goes against everything the world teaches us, but having a happy heart is a choice, not an emotion.  True happiness is not a result of our circumstances, it is a result of our contentment in God’s will.  It is a result of trusting God through the tough times of life and rejoicing in God’s gift of salvation.  This doesn’t mean that we don’t ever feel angry or grieved or lonely…it means we are not a slave to those feelings.  Teaching our daughter to obey with a happy heart is the first step in teaching her to live her whole life with contentment in the Lord.

There are two weeks left in this book study, and I hope that it has been as beneficial for you as it has been for me.  I feel like I have stumbled and fallen many times on my journey as a parent, but by God’s grace I am learning what I need to do.  I’d love to hear about your struggles and/or successes along your own journey!

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