I mentioned in my last post that I was planning on reading at least 24 solid books this year. One fiction and one non-fiction each month. The non-fiction book I read in January was Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Hubbard. This book was recommended to me by our pastor's wife a while ago, but I just recently got around to reading it.
Having been thrust into parenthood in a unique way with fostering, and recently adding a new baby to the mix, I knew I could use all the guidance I could get when it comes to raising children. Don't Make Me Count to Three talks about using scripture when disciplining children and recognizing that all disobedience comes from a heart problem. What a great reminder that while we can feel that our children's misbehavior is an affront against us, ultimately, it is sin against God. When you look at the situation from an eternal perspective you're more likely to give grace but also lovingly correct instead of lashing out in frustration.
One of the most beneficial things I found in this book were the "Wise Words for Mom" table which contains a list of a child's behavior with corresponding heart probing questions and scripture for reproof, encouragement and additional helpful verses. She talks about using Biblical terminology when correcting children, and using the verses in kid-friendly language is a great way for them to learn what the Bible says about certain matters (and you to learn as well). I need to work on looking through all the passages and slowly introducing them for discipline. Another helpful part of the book is a phrase my pastor and his wife use. When talking about how God wants children to obey it is "all the way, right away, and with a happy heart." The cool thing about this is that's how God wants His children to obey too! When a child begins to understand what this means, the phrase can be used as a gentle reminder instead of dealing with repeating yourself, whining, etc.
I will say, the one thing I didn't agree with was her take on spanking. She makes the argument that if you don't spank you are not being faithful to God's method for disciplining children according to Scripture. This is something I need to do more research on, but I don't think her arguments for this are foolproof. The passages she uses are from the book of Proverbs which, as Lee likes to say, is often more of a description instead of a prescription. Again, something I will have to prayerfully look into more. Aside from this, however, I think she does a good job of relaying the importance of discipline in the Bible. There are some very practical things that I hope to be able to use in my life.
So, if you feel like you're always counting to three before your children obey (if it even happens then), then I recommend you take a look at this book. Just remember, as always, test whatever you read against Scripture. As a final note, my friend Caroline posted something on Facebook today that can be a good reminder for all you tired parents out there. I've heard it before, but it was a great thing to hear during this trying season. "Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise." What an amazing calling to raise children who love the Lord. One of my constant prayers for my kids is that they grow up to love the Lord even more than I do.