Monday, July 26, 2010

Like reading a job description, and liking it.

It sat on my shelf for far too long, then, perhaps out of desperation, I loaned it to a friend, who loved it, then I had to read it. "
Don't make me Count to Three!" by Ginger Plowman is my Summer pick for 'the book to tell everyone about' and I have been! Regina, Anna, Melissa W., Emily Y., and Melinda C. have all read it since this Spring and I've got more people in line! So far it's the only parenting book I've ever read that I can jive with. It looks at the child's heart, not the behavior and challenges us parents to do what we know we should do, take the time to teach the right behavior and not just punish the wrong. It does not condone counting to three or threatening consequences (guilty!) even if you do follow through. It's philosophy is that the child should obey, "all the way, right away and with a happy heart" (shouldn't we all?). It encourages creative discipline all the time and spankings under certain circumstances, however, none of this happens without a simple Scripture that reinforces what crime has been committed, and more importantly what God would have us do instead. Essentially, putting off the old, putting on the new, then most importantly, she encourages role-play, so the child practices the right behavior.

One heart-probing example of parenting was given in the book that I was able to try out with little Z just after reading it: We were with some friends at their house and their little boy was playing with a toy lawn mower for quite a while. Z came to me and said, "Mommy, Tommy won't share the lawn mower," now normally I would say, "Did you ask him nicely if you could have a turn?" But, instead, I said, "Does it look like Tommy is having fun with the lawn mower?" Z nodded eagerly. Then I asked, "Don't you want your friend to have fun and be happy?" His face started to sag. "The loving thing to do is to wait until Tommy is done with the lawn mower, then you may ask him if you can play with it. You may find another toy to play with while you're waiting." Z didn't need anymore help that day, though some days he does. He watched him for a while until he found another toy to play with. Finally, Tommy was done and Z got his turn.

It gave me direction and tons of examples of a Biblical model for parenting, not to mention really handy Scriptures like "[Love] finds no pleasure in injustice done to others, but joyfully sides with the truth." That's a handy one when someone decides it's fun to taunt his sister by pointing a stick at her until she cries, over and over and over, or "Love is not rude," for back talkers or for interrupters, "Love is patient, Love is not self-seeking and is not easily angered." All of these were found in 1 Corinthians 13, but she had lots of awesome verses, but my handy reference guide is still out on loan. Well, I guess I still have this one:
It's a quick reference guide ($3.99) also by Ginger Plowman, shaped like a calendar, with common behavior problems, questions to ask to probe the heart, Scriptures to "reproof" (put off the bad), reprove (put on the good) and extra verses for special occasions. This author definitely met a need in my life, as it can feel a little out of control and cloudy at times as to whether I'm doing the right thing for the ones I love most.

I'm striving for becoming the kind of parent that only is a "helicopter parent" when it comes to heart issues, not controlling their every move. But, I want to be right on (not that I'm perfect at this!) the sin in their heart, as I don't want it to take root in their lives...and it's my job. On the topic of helicopter parents, my college friend, Rachel (a feisty, common sense mother of eight), linked us to this site in a recent post that addresses how common sense in child rearing has been all but forgotten in our highly protective, fear based society. It was an interesting read, to say the least!

I'm now reading, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," by Barbara Kingsolver and "Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls. Both are very intriguing so far. I'll keep you posted!

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