"Don't make me count to three!"
"You just wait till your daddy gets home!"
"Do you want a spanking?"
"You don't want me to come in there!"
"No matter how you phrase them, these types of statements all have one thing in common: They aid parents in avoiding discipline issues."
Ginger Plowman opens up with these statements in her book, "Don't Make Me Count to Three!"
The premise of the book: "In order for us to reach the hearts of our children we must realize that there is far more to parenting than getting our children to act right. We have to get them to think right and to be motivated out of love of virtue rather than a fear of punishment." She gives examples of questions to ask children and practical ways to use scripture to instruct them.
I titled this post with a question that I ask Maevri frequently. My husband and I laugh when we ask her this, because we surely don't expect her to say, "Yes, I would love a spanking" or "No, I really need two spankings to learn my lesson." Simply asking her if she wants a spanking just suggests that what she is
doing is wrong. It doesn't address her attitude, actions or what
scripture says about it. We eventually want Maevri and Deacon to understand why a certain action or attitude is wrong, not just simply know right and wrong. In Matthew 15, Jesus reminds the Pharisees that they honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him. Ultimately, we desire for Mae and Deacon to honor God with their hearts and actions.
We aren't asking her this question anymore, by itself at least (even though it slips out occasionally). We also try to redirect her bad actions with good ones to show her a difference. Her vocabulary is not broad enough yet to talk about her heart or why she gets fussy or hits her brother, but we are trying to practice what our conversation might look like. In the very near future, she will start to talk more and express her heart. Hopefully we'll get the hang of it by the time Mr. Deacon starts to get in on the conflict resolution...
Proverbs 20:5 has been my prayer for myself lately. It says, "The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out." I desire to draw things out of my family and friend's hearts, with the intention of encouraging them with truth in scripture.
I'm very thankful for some "warnings" that Plowman wrote in the introduction of her book too. She urges parents to not become prideful with the good behavior of their children. When Mae is on her best behavior or when she politely obeys us, it's very easy to give myself a "mental cookie" and say, "sweet, I taught her that." Proverbs 11:2 says, "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." We definitely rejoice in the successes of her good behavior, but we always need to give God the credit and thanks for wisdom. Yeah, that's difficult.
I haven't finished Plowman's book, but I am anxious to start putting these tips into action! I was encouraged by the lovely, Kelly, over at The Houtz House Party to share info about this fabulous book. I'm grateful for her and other mommies that share their joys, struggles and experiences of being a parent. We are learning TONS in this season of our life together! I hope that this book can be an encouragement to you, if not now, then one day. Thanks for reading!