Friday, January 30, 2009

outside the circle

Ephesians 6:1-3 (& I'll include v.4) - ring any bells? How about if I tell you it's a passage that you want your child to know? (But also speaks to us as parents!)

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord."

I participated in Ted Tripp's Shepherding a Child's Heart study over the past few months and have taken a lot from it. I put into practice something that I learned, specifically, this week. After a particularly hard couple of days filled with lots of wonderful (hear my sarcasm?) disobedience I sat down with Lynn. First, I had her grab her Bible and we looked up Eph. 6. I read it out loud with her, then drew the following, explaining as I went along. It captured her attention, as she had no clue what I was doing.

I'll do my best to write out what it all means. I started by drawing Lynn on the right - happy with a smile. She's smiling b/c she's within the circle of obedience. She's honoring her mom and dad, obeying her teacher at school, etc. And, as we had just read, the Bible promises that if we do this, we'll have long life and our lives will go well. I wrote this all out, explaining in a cheerful voice how the Lord protects us and honors His promise when we obey His commands.
When a child disobeys, he/she is out of the circle and is in "danger." He/she is outside the commands of God and is not listening. That child is making bad choices and it is not safe. One bad decision can lead to many more. Then, I basically said, "because God commands mommy and daddy to teach you and watch over you, I have to discipline you to let you know when you are out of the circle, for your safety." Hence, the arrow with "discipline" written on it. (For our family that includes spanking.) Then, after the discipline comes restoration (it's important that she knows I "still" love her, even with the spanking, and so I will pull her into a hug and sometimes pray with her afterward. I don't ever want her to think that just because she disobeys that I love her any less). Daily, while her dad and I teach her more about God, more about right/wrong choices, give her lots of love, have fun with her, and keep in prayer for her, she can come to know where the boundaries of the circle lie.

You may be saying, Whoa. That's crazy or that's overkill in disciplining... but, I want to touch her heart so that she can grow up to 1. love the Lord, 2. honor Him with her life. I want her to see how deeply He cares for her and as a byproduct of that love, gives guidelines for her safety. I don't want my discipline only to correct a behavior. A well behaved kid grows up to be a polite, but still lost & confused, adult. When you reach into the heart to correct the reason behind the behavior, it's then that you affect who they are as an individual. At five, she very much understood this diagram and we will refer back to it.
Maybe this gives you something to think about as well as you instruct and discipline your children. If you'd like to read more, I'd encourage you to look into Shepherding a Child's Heart. It'll make you rethink your discipline strategies. It did for me.

1 comment:

HDMac said...

What an excellent of parenting! Parenting is so difficult. I was the disciplinarian with our kids growing up... oh... I hated it and I felt like I was SO strict sometimes.. well all the time really.. lol... I did try to incorporate the Scriptures into my discipline w/o causing them to HATE the Word! lol... This book sounds very good. I am going to check it out and may purchase it for each of my children..... I like what it says about "Bringing deep biblical principals to the task of parenting and concentrating on what is going on inside a child rather than just their outside behavior." I do believe that is important! :)

Thanks for visiting and commenting on missing me. I have missed being here too.... thank you. I am back and doing so much better. :)