Sunday, April 29, 2012

Shepherding a Child's Heart- Communication- Chapter 8-9

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.

Bottom Line
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

Much Love, 
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 

Linking with: 


Alicia said...

Oh, I'm guilty of manipulation- or just plain bribery. Uggh... who knew how hard it would be to join God in shaping hearts? Love the wisdom you share. Thanks

Shelly said...

I am so guilty of manipulating and controlling and bribing! Thank you for sharing this, glad I came here this morning.

Court said...

We're doing this book (among others) in sunday school and this week we discussed the importance of discipline and how it relates to how we relate to God. It was such a humbling discussion and make me look deeply at my ideas about Him and his authority in my life. What a joy to have resources like this wonderful book to hopefully teach my children better than I learned so they may be truths of him locked into their little souls much earlier.

Pamela said...

I'm passed the small child stage as my youngest just finished her first year in college. However, I receive such blessing to read of you younger mothers reading and seeking God to become the best mothers possible. Looking back, I realize how important our day by day walk with Christ is. Our children form their beliefs of God from we practice, not the words we say.

Dolly@Soulstops said...

you've communicated rich truths here about God's heart for us and our children...Thanks :) Love seeing dolphins ...

Funny but I wrote about kids and communication in my post today but from a different angle.

Dea said...

Props to you for how you are choosing to raise your gifts! I love the part about communicating. I see my daughter doing this with her fifteen month old and it is already paying off in the training of a toddler! She is teaching her all the time and Naomi is very attuned to the fact that her mom is on her side. I wish I had been like that when my Annie was young.

Alecia said...

I've read that book and learned so much. I notice a huge difference when I communicate and listen to their hearts, and a change in their behavior. They're just little people trying to navigate this world like we are.

Jennifer @ said...

I tell myself daily: Our children are mirrors. They are watching. What am I teaching?

God bless you and your family, as you all continue to grow in grace. Keep shining, beautiful sister!