Ginger Plowman does an excellent job of bringing the Scripture into child-rearing in her book, Don't Make Me Count to Three. As a Christian, I want to be training my children God's way. It's so easy to discipline our children the way we were raised, or by the latest fad or by what our friend's suggest. But, if it's not God's way we're not going to see true and lasting change in the hearts of our children.
Honestly, I wish I had read this book when my oldest was a baby. I think it would have helped me to curtail some behavior that now has become a habit. But, it's not too late to start on it now.
Here are some thoughts from the book:
"Moms, we need to be reminded of the awesome resposibility that God has given us. When we respond to the high calling of motherhood with passion, the rewards are far greater than any we could ever gain outside of that calling. The joys of motherhood are rare and beautiful treasures that can be easily missed if we don't seize the opportunity to grab them."
I wasn't too far into this book before I was on my knees before God in prayer asking for His help. Motherhood is hard, but doing it the right way is even harder! The good thing about doing it the right way is that God is on my side and He will give me the grace to accomplish what He has called me to do.
When reading this book I came across Philippians 1:9-10. It is a great prayer to pray for your children. "I pray that your love for each other will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowlege and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blemelss lives until Christ returns."
As I mentioned before, I feel Ginger does a great job of applying Scripture to the situations we all encounter daily with our children. Things like tattling, sharing, fighting and complaining usually crop up on a regular basis when you have children (and probably in our own lives too!) She is also very good at asking heart-probing questions and she gives plenty of scenarios to help you see how Scripture should be applied to different situations.
In chapter 2 she deals with "What Lies Within" the hearts of our children. "'Luke 6:45 says, 'The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.' The heart is the control center of life. Behavior is simply what alerts you to your child's need for correction. But don't make the mistake that so many parents make and allow your desire for changed behavior to replace your desire for a changed heart. If you can reach the heart, the behavior will take care of itself. Keep in mind that it is possible to cause your child to change his irritating behavior to that which is acceptable without an actual heart change taking place."
That is why it's so important that we be praying for our children. It's easy to be satisfied when I see them acting the right way but if their motivation is for the praise or approval of others it's still wrong. This applies to my own life as well!
One great biblical model that she sets forth in this book is the "Put off, Put on" principle found in Ephesians 4:22-24. On pages 47-48 she discusses what she should do when a situation arises:
1) have the child work through what a biblical response would be
2) have the child follow through with it
If we don't do this it is not providing a "way of escape" for them the next time they're faced with that temptation. This will exasperate them and provoke them to anger. Any time I correct wrong behavior I need to walk my child through the right behavior. I know this can be very time consuming but "this is how we train our children to walk in the righteousness of Christ."
Ultimately we need God's grace as we seek to raise our children for His glory. They may not turn out the way that we want, but by God's grace we can trust Him for the outcome. Although we are far from perfect in our parenting, we can trust our God as we seek to do things according to Scripture. Ginger quoted Stormie Omartian as saying, "'Being a perfect parent doesn't matter. Being a praying parent does.'" How I pray that I would be faithful in praying for our children.
I hope this review is helpful to you. Personally, I took quite a few notes from this book and plan to use it as a reference. My goal is to be better at using God's Word in my parenting situations. By His grace, I will.
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