Sunday, August 22, 2010

Getting to the heart of the matter- in discipline, that is.

Several of my favorite bloggers, such as Kimberly at Raising Olives and Tara at Too Many Kids in the Bathtub, have written extensively on the theme of getting and keeping our children's hearts.  I've learned so much on this important topic from them and also from the Maxwells, but since I'm a slow learner, I'm always on the lookout for further encouragement in this area. I recently picked up a little gem of a book, Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman, and I thought I'd share some of my favorite parts with you. 

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.  (p. 33)

Am I the only one who has to constantly remind myself of this?  What's worse is when I find my own convenience is the motivation behind desiring their changed behavior, rather than my desire for my children to know God and glorify Him. 

If you can reach the heart, the behavior will take care of itself.  (p.33)

I think this is key.  When I concentrate on training a particular behavior in my kids, I get the cart before the horse.  I should concentrate my efforts instead on my children's hearts.

Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.  Proverbs 4:23

Jesus made this same point on several occasions regarding certain laws the pharisees prided themselves upon keeping.

Are you thus without understanding?  Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from the outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart, but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?... What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a man.   Mark 7:18-23

We can spend all our time trying to curb certain behaviors in our kids and at the end of the day turn them into little pharisees who pride themselves on their external obedience, but have darkened hearts.  Or, we can pour ourselves into our children's hearts and let their hearts take care of their actions.  Actually, we can pour the Word of God into their hearts and let the Spirt of God through the Word of God change them. 

I need to remind myself that my children are not my own, they belong to the Lord and exist for His glory, not mine.  Why is this so hard for me to remember? 

Anyway, I have lots of other quotes from the book I'd like to share with you and may do so in additional posts, but I think this really is the foundation of child training- getting to the heart of the matter.  What do you think?

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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.