Embracing Biblical Methods - Communication
Over the past few weeks we've read and discussed several different types of parenting techniques
including everything from bribing your children through various reward systems to punishing techniques
like time-outs. At the heart of the discussion has been the heart of our children - and the fact that the
point in parenting isn't simply to control their behavior - but to reach their hearts -
turning their hearts towards the things of God as they grow in relationship with their Creator.
I know that I personally have fallen into many of the traps of "manipulating" my children into "behaving" properly rather than staying focused on training them to change their heart. Sometimes I may even go
through several different techniques in the course of a day. "If you're good in the grocery store - you
can have a cookie!" Flat out bribery - for my own convenience. Quite frankly, I may very well use that
one again at my next store visit. But, what this book is showing me is that on a regular basis - my heart
needs to be in tune with the things of God - so that I can encourage my children to desire to glorify Him
with their actions and choices.
Ephesians 6:1 "Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right" Is a Bible verse that we heard frequently while growing up - and now in our own home -
I've used it as our "weekly" memory verse on more than one occasion (sometimes we need refresher
courses) By instilling these truths in the heart of our children - we can remind them to check
their hearts with what the Bible says instead of "manipulating" them into doing what we want.
A two way street
I love a quote from Chapter 8 which says "rich communication prohibits cold, tyrannical discipline"
Our children need discipline. We must put our God given authority to good work - but godly authority
does not mean force! Forced behavior does not bring your children closer to the Lord - it has the
opposite effect. Rich communication is not about expressing yourself - but about getting others to
express themselves instead. "It's about drawing out the thoughts of another"
Yelling at your children and giving long speeches doesn't facilitate heart change.
In order to help your children turn their hearts to the Lord - you must first understand what's going on
with them. They need our guidance - not our control. I see such a difference in disciplining my children
when the feel secure that I'm on their team. I remind them that I'm there to help them do what's right -
I'm for them and not against them. If they can feel secure in that even when they are "in trouble"- it
goes a long way towards open and honest communication which leads to getting back on the right track.
You can begin this even with very young children by giving them the words to express how they are
feeling. Identifying our emotions is a critical part of controlling them - your children will sense that you
are there to help as you guide them through this process. With the youngest it may sound something like
this "I can see that you're upset. Are you feeling angry?" Assuring them that we all have these feelings
is an important part of the communication process. Having feelings is not a sin - it's what we do with
those feelings that leads to heart changes in one direction or the other.
Rules, Correction, Discipline
Every home must have rules. We must be able to correct our children and discipline is needed to teach
them that there are consequences in life for the choices we make. But if this is the extent of the
communication in your home - you are missing out on getting to the heart of the matter.
Shepherding a Child's Heart shows us a different type of "behavior chart" it's more of a "communication"
chart instead. It goes like this:
People are complicated individuals. Little people are just as complicated and need our help in learning
to understand their emotions, to control themselves, and to communicate. Encouraging healthy and
rich communication in your home means learning to combine the steps listed in the communication chart
above. For instance- you may rebuke in a way that warns or teaches. You may encourage in a way
which instructs and entreats.
The bottom line is that in order to shepherd our children's hearts toward the things of God - we must
learn to communicate richly with our children. Our kids are born with an innate desire to be close to
us. By showing genuine interest in understanding them - using patience, love, and gentleness to reach
out to them - we can guide them and shepherd their hearts.
*We are fighting spiritual battles on our homefronts - Although we may not win every battle
We know who ultimately wins the war! May God have the glory in your home this week
Counting to #1000 Gifts and beyond
#251- Teaching little boys to stick fish like I did as a girl
#252- Spring days when a "cold front" means 74 degrees and a breeze
#253- Visits to the country
#254- Fellowship (In)RL with blogger friends
#255- Kindred hearts
#256- Historic lighthouse field trip with a view
#257- Dolphins jumping in the pass
#258- Communication with my boys
#259- Boys learning Bible verses
#260- Little hearts turning to Jesus