May 11, 2007

Training Children in Righteousness

Ginger Plowman

 

I hope you are enjoying the Girlfriends in God daily devotions.  We (Mary, Sharon, and Gwen) would like to introduce you to some of our special friends.  From time-to-time, the Friday devotions will be written by one of our friends in ministry.  We call them our "Friday Friends."  So grab your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee and drink in the words from our "Friday Friend", Ginger Plowman. Ginger Plowman, author of Don’t Make Me Count to Three and Heaven at Home, speaks at women’s events and parenting conferences across the country.

 

 

 

 

Today’s truth

The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out. (Proverbs 20:5, NIV)

 

 

Friend to Friend

“Don’t make me count to three!”

“You just wait till your daddy gets home!

“You don’t want me to come in there!”

“Do you want a spanking?”

“If you don’t straighten up, you’re going to get it.”

 

Sound familiar? No matter how you phrase them, these types of statements all have one thing in common: They aid parents in avoiding discipline issues.

 

All parents want their children to obey, yet many fail to get obedience. Some threaten. Some bribe. Some use “time out.” Others simply ignore acts of disobedience. Could it be that parents avoid these issues because they are uncertain in how to handle them?

 

We mothers tend to think that after a child’s birth the hard part is over. We endured months of morning sickness, were shocked by the changes pregnancy brought on our bodies, and even survived the life-threatening delivery process itself. What a surprise it was to learn that the hard part was just beginning!

 

After my child’s birth, I read about the stages he was about to go through—the so-called “terrible twos” were just around the corner. I scrambled to stay one step ahead of his development. As avidly as I read “What To Expect During Pregnancy” books, now I read “How to Raise ‘Em Now That You’ve Got ‘Em” books. As I studied Scripture and read books overflowing with biblical wisdom, it became apparent that I had to link discipline with instruction. I had to learn how to reach past the outward behavior and pull out what was in the hearts of my children.

 

This sort of discipline takes work. There is so much more to raising children than getting them to “act” right. We have to get them to “think” right and to be motivated out of a love of virtue rather than a fear of punishment. We do this by training them in righteousness rather than just correcting them for wrong. We can use three steps for training children in righteousness.

 

1)      Probe the heart. By asking your child a simple question, such as “how did you disobey?” you are teaching him to evaluate his own heart and take ownership for his own sins.

 

2)      Teach what to “put off.” God’s Word will truly penetrate the heart of your child. Therefore, use Scripture to show your child what God says about the particular struggle they are having and what it can lead to.

 

3)      Teach what to “put on.” It is never enough to correct children for wrong behavior. We must teach them how to replace wrong behavior with right behavior. This is what training them in righteousness is all about.

 

God’s Word provides us with everything we need for training our children in righteousness. If you are not sure how to locate the right Scriptures to help deal with the struggles your children are having (such as disobeying, tattling, whining, selfishness, complaining, etc.) you will find Wise Words for Moms a handy tool. This quick reference chart lists twenty-two common behavior problems and provides parents with simple instructions for how to deal with each one biblically. While it takes work to train our children in righteousness, remember that there is no garden as worthy of seed planting than the fertile soil of a child’s heart.

 

This information was taken from Ginger Plowman’s new book, “Don’t Make Me Count to Three!”

 

 

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, thank you for the precious children that you have entrusted to my care. Please grant me wisdom to train them in your ways. Give me the discernment to know how to handle each situation. Help me to be patient and kind so that your love might flow through me.

 

Now it’s your turn

Rather than simply dealing with the outward behavior of your children by administering consequences, make it your goal to dig deeper by moving beyond behavior and getting to the heart of the matter. Ask heart-probing questions and follow through with instructions for replacing what is wrong with what is right.

 

For more on this subject, see Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids by Sharon Jaynes

 

 

More from the Girlfriends

Being a mom is the hardest and highest calling for a woman. And one of the toughest parts of that calling is discipline. Just remember, God has a plan for disciplining your children, a plan for their good, and a plan that will enable them to be all they are meant to be. We really can trust our children to God.

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