Monday, March 16, 2009

Don’t Make Me Count to Three – Ch. 9

Welcome to the ninth 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.

As I was reading this chapter, I found myself wanting to highlight almost every sentence.  I appreciate that there are eleven direct scripture references to back up all of her main points.  Over the years, I have found myself needing to explain and defend my belief in biblical discipline, including spanking with a rod.  I have never articulated and defended my position as well as Ginger does, however.  Other than the direct scripture references, my favorite quote from this chapter was on pg. 99-100.  When speaking of parents who say that “spanking doesn’t work”, Ginger replies,

“…in most of these cases, the parents had embraced a worldly form of spanking rather than a biblical form of chastisement.  They had used the rod without reproof.  They had punished the wrong without explaining the right, and most often they had punished in anger and with a wrong motive.”

How true!  I honestly believe that spanking done incorrectly is often worse than doing nothing at all.  Unfortunately, that type of unbiblical spanking is portrayed 99% of the time when “professionals” argue against it.  Ginger certainly didn’t mince words when she stated that to reject biblical spanking is to reject God’s Word and claim that we are wiser than God Himself.  How thankful I am that God has made His ordained plan for discipline so wise, so loving, and so clear when we search the Scriptures.

I also appreciate that Ginger spoke of traditional, worldly methods of training children.  At some point or another, I have done all of those things!  Sometimes they work for the moment, but it is not a lasting change.  When the focus is anything other than teaching and training the heart, true obedience will not take place. 

My pet peeve is #5:  Reasoning with the child.  Oh, boy.  I just can’t stand it when I hear parents trying to plead, explain, and manipulate their children into obeying.  I just want to exclaim, “Who’s the parent here???!!”  God has put us in a position of authority over our children, just like God is our Heavenly Father.  We should expect obedience, then follow through with reproof and the rod if they choose to not obey.  I think that too many parents are trying to be their child’s “best friend.”  Ironically, parents who administer biblical discipline usually have a closer and more loving relationship with their child than the parent who is always reasoning and trying to be a friend.

In closing, Ginger has given me another way to check myself after discipline.  Did it end on a positive note?  If either one of us is struggling with remaining anger or frustration at the end of discipline, perhaps I should re-evaluate my own heart and make sure that I am applying discipline correctly with good motives.  At the end, our children should feel assured that we love them enough to teach them obedience.

While much of the material in this chapter is highly debated in both the Christian and secular communities, my confidence rests in the wisdom that is revealed in Scripture.  The challenge for me is to stay consistent and ever-mindful of what I KNOW I should do!  I’ve appreciated reading your comments and e-mails over the last few weeks…it’s encouraging to know that other moms are struggling the same as me, yet also seeing the fruits of submitting to God’s plan in their children.  I’m dying to know what you thought about this week’s chapter!




Christa said...

We have always believed in use of the rod as a form of discipline, mostly because we were trained by it. However, when it got to be time for us to use it with our children we did some research to find out why we were using it, and more specifically how to use it correctly. We are not allowed to leave the "rod room" until the issue is resolved on a positive note.

I again appreciated Ginger's tone in this chapter, and her direction for us to look at our motives before we use the rod. On page 101...not because we have been embarrassed or irritated. That will lead to harm, not the peaceful fruit of righteousness talked about in Hebrews 12:11.

I hadn't realized I had used bribing, until we came out of a store, and I was praising my 4 year old for staying close to mommy the whole time, without me having to continually remind him, and he said, "I want a special treat." Once I got over the sting, I used the opportunity to tell him that we obey because it is the right thing to do and it pleases God, NOT so we get a special treat. He then asked, "What do I get for being obedient?" To which I replied, "A great big hug."

Joanna J. said...


The exact same thing has happened with us. Sometimes when I've complemented or thanked Grace for good behavior, she says, "Can I have a treat now?"

That has caused me to examine my treat-giving moments. While I don't think there is anything wrong with occasionally rewarding our children with a special treat, I have decided not to do it very often so it won't become the inspiration for good behavior. As you said, the ultimate reward is that it pleases and honors God.