Saturday, May 31, 2008
Thank you for your patience with me and my "mini-vacation." It was not really a vacation in the sense that I was taking time for myself. However, we've had lots of family and friends here over the last two weeks and I just needed a little extra time. Thank you! And now on to chapter 9!
Rules. Correction. Discipline. The big three. That's how many of us view parenting, and in that order, says Tedd Tripp. The children are given rules. When they break them, they are disciplined. That's all there is to it, right? Tripp says there must be more beneath the surface. Our communication needs to be much richer than those surface level three. We need to discern what type of communication would be most appropriate for each situation. Beneath the big three, should be the following 8:
1. Encouragement. A child may have done something wrong, but already acknowledges what he did was wrong. This would not be a good time for rebuke. Instead, it would be a good time for encouragement towards Christ. This type of communication is designed to inspire and fill our children with hope and courage.
2. Correction. This one is pretty obvious. When a child needs to be brought into conformity with a given standard, he needs to be lovingly corrected.
3. Rebuke. If the parent wants to communicate something more sternly because of the seriousness of the behavior, rebuke is in order. For example, if the child is cursing a sibling, she needs to be told clearly and with evident alarm that "It is wrong for her to speak in such a way and she should never do so again." Rebuke is usually followed by other forms of communication.
4. Entreaty. Communicating in a way that is earnest and intense is usually necessary only periodically. We should urge or solicit our children to follow God's teaching in areas such as sexual sins. This is done in a pleading sort of way. It is not wrong to plead with our children over such topics. However, you want to be careful not to use entreaty for the everyday issues (eg. Pleeeeeeaaase stop hitting your sister).
5. Instruction. This is the process of providing a lesson, precept or information to help your child understand the world around him. Our children are not born fully equipped with information about our world. They are learning it every day and it is our job to give them the framework to do so.
6. Warning. We should faithfully alert our children to real dangers in their lives, both physical and spiritual. Warning perseveres. We should teach our children the warnings of the Bible. We should show them that A-leads-to-B. These warnings will prepare our children to listen to warnings of their own as they mature.
7. Teaching. We must actively impart knowledge about all sorts of things to our children. We should draw upon Scripture and help our children understand themselves, others, life, God, etc.
8. Prayer. Though not a direct form of communication with our children, prayer helps us have insight into their lives. It also allows our children to learn how to pray and to communicate with God themselves.
All of these different forms of communication can be interwoven with one another. Tripp agrees the list is not exhaustive. Yet it still provides a great framework and reminds us there is much more to communicating with our children than rules, correction and discipline.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Oh how I praise God this happen when my in-laws were here! I would have had NO idea what to do. Though I'm smart enough to know not to put water on it, I was told that a fire extinguisher wouldn't have even helped if I had not turned off the breaker. How in the world would I have known that?! My father-in-law was already able to fix the oven (he's such a handy man and knowledgeable in all that's electrical). Needless to say, it was a bit of a scare and I praise God it was a much smaller issue then it could have been. I was told that any time an appliance is on fire to immediately turn off the breaker before anything. Obviously I can call the fire department as well, maybe even on my phone on the way to the fuse box. I pray this tiny bit of knowledge is helpful for you too!
Praise God for grace in our lives once again!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Album Title: The Altar and the Door
Artist(s): Casting Crowns
Written by: Jeff Chandler
(Hear the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb0P8co7ofQ):
If all I had was one last breathMy thoughts:
I’d spend it just to sing Your praise
Just to say Your name
If all I had was one last prayer
I’d pray it ‘cause I know You’re always listening
If I could live a thousand lives,
bind the hands of time
I would spend every moment by Your side
I know You’re there, I know You see me
You’re the air I breathe
You are the ground beneath me
I know You’re there, I know You hear me
I can find You anywhere
If all I had was one more song to sing
I would raise my voice to make the heavens ring
If all I had was one last chance, I’d take it
I would stake it all on You
If I could raise up high and catch a
glimpse of every eye
I would make them believe
What I feel inside
If I could live a thousand lives and bind the hands of time
If I could rise up high and catch a glimpse of every eye
I know You’re there
I know You’re there
I know You’re there, You’re there
I love this song! Not only is it sung beautifully, the words are such a sweet reminder of how close the Lord truly is to us. Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV) says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." Then in 2 Samuel 22:7, "In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I called. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry came to his ears." What a great God!
I do want to make one quick comment regarding God being the "air I breathe" and the "ground beneath me." This is not meant to be taken in a pantheistic way. The Bible does not teach everything around us is a part of God, as some would say. However, the artists are pointing to the fact that God is so incredibly near to us, it's "as if" he's the air and the ground. As a matter of fact, the Bible does teach that Christians have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them. So God is truly as near as He could possibly be.
I love how this song declares, "if all I had was one more song to sing" and also "If all I had was one last chance, I’d take it I would stake it all on You." How we should echo the same sentiment! If all we had was one more moment, we should spend it praising God!
Praise the Lord, this song has encouraged me already this day!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Last week we discussed discarding unbiblical methods of childrearing. For the next five weeks, we'll be discussing what biblical methods we should be embracing. Today, we'll focus on communication.
Dr. Tedd Tripp begins by explaining the biblical approach is the weaving together of two elements: rich, full communication and the rod. He mentions Proverbs 23:13-26 and how these methods are listed side by side. We will discuss communication through chapter 10 and then the rod in chapter 11.
"Communication is not a monologue. It is dialogue." Great statement by Tripp. How many times do we find ourselves as parents, talking to our children and not with our children? Communication is not a one-way street. It involves the ability to listen. He goes on to say "the finest are of communication is not learning how to express your thoughts. It is learning how to draw out the thoughts of another." I have to brag on my husband hear. He does an amazing job of drawing me out (or at least attempting to). Maybe it's the counselor in him. Will we do that with our child? Will we remember it is a two-way street and we need to understand her?
Tripp says that we must focus on understanding our children and what is going on in their hearts. He gives a great example about a child who is struggling with peer pressure because of his "dweeby" tennis shoes. For the sake of space, I won't repeat the example. He follows by giving two different responses. In the second response, the parent is trying to understand the child. Tripp gives three communication objectives.
- The behavior you see is a reflection of the abundance of your child's heart.
- You want to understand the specific content of the abundance of his heart.
- The internal issues of the heart are of greater import than the specifics of behavior, since they drive behavior.
Lastly, Tripp walks us through a common scenario. "Junior" hits his sister. When asked why, he says "I don't know." Can he really not know? Well, the answer appears to be yes. He may not yet understand what is going on in his heart. This is why we, as Christian parents, need to help him understand. We should probe his heart. A few (of the 6) questions Tripp suggests:
- "What were you feeling when you hit your sister?"
- "Help me understand how hitting her seemed to make things better."
- "In what other ways could you have responded?"
We are to walk Junior through the nature of his temptation, the possible responses and his own sinful responses.
How are you drawing out your child's heart today? Are you talking significantly more than you are listening? May God lead us all in our efforts to glorify Him through childrearing.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Album Title: The Altar and the Door
Artist(s): Casting Crowns
(Hear the song here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=4WN37XYqrmY):
Somewhere between the hot and the cold
Somewhere between the new and the old
Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be
Somewhere in the middle,
You’ll find me
Somewhere between the wrong and the right
Somewhere between the darkness and the light
Somewhere between who I was and who You’re making me
Somewhere in the middle, You’ll find me
Just how close can I get, Lord,
to my surrender without losing all control
Fearless warriors in a picket fence,
reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end
and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences,
the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His
or are we caught in the middle
Are we caught in the middle
Somewhere between my heart and my hands
Somewhere between my faith and my plans
Somewhere between the safety of
the boat and the crashing waves
Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
Somewhere between the altar and the door
Somewhere between contented
peace and always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle You’ll find me
Just how close can I get, Lord,
to my surrender without losing all control
Lord, I feel You in this place and I know You’re by my side
Loving me even on these nights when I’m caught in the middle
This song is very similar (in topic) to last Monday's post, so I don't feel the need to add much to what I said then. What a sweet song and how true it is. So often, we get caught in the middle: in the middle of where Christ calls us and where the world pulls us. The lyrics say it well.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Thank you for your patience with my delay in posting! My what a week this has been! But anyway - Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there (particularly my mom and mother-in-law of course). :) And now, onto our chapter for the week.
This chapter opened up with an outlandish, yet true, story. After the perpetual whines of her daughter in the airport, a mother told her child, "I am sick of you. I hate you. Go away. Find someone else to yell at. I don't want you. I can't stand you. Get out of my sight." Wow! I absolutely cannot imagine such a situation. Though knowing my sinful heart, I cannot say it's something I would not do, apart from Christ.
Why did Tedd Tripp open his chapter this way? Because it is an extremely obvious unbiblical method of discipline. Yet some people would say that what this mother did was successful. After all - the little girl stopped whining and started pleading with her mom with "I'm sorry's." As Tripp words it, "the cure was worse than the disease."
There are many different types of unbiblical methods as well as unbiblical sources. For example, there is no shortage of books, magazines and programs regarding childrearing. The "experts" include various parents, talk show hosts, Dr. 'So and So,' etc. What do they all have in common? The human mind is the standard, not God's word. Tripp lists six different unbiblical methods, which I will list and comment briefly on.
#1: I didn't turn out so bad. Often, parents will do exactly what their parents did (rightly or wrongly), because "they didn't turn out so bad." And if they turned out okay, it should be fine for their children also. The problem is that this parent has not even evaluated the training method in light of God's standard. He has not assessed whether it even had a good impact on him. This doesn't mean that our parents did it wrong. It simply means that we need to evaluate all of our methods against God's word.
#2: Pop Psychology. On a personal note, this one drives me nuts. Whatever is the most "popular" method of the day and age is the right one - according to this line of thinking. There are many current pop methods but Tripp commented on bribery. Some "Dr.'s" suggest bribing your children for everything. This is how you get them to do what you want. This should be an obvious superficial method. The child is taught only to look out for himself and not others. The line of thinking, "I'll do what you want me to do if you give me what I want."
#3: Behavior Modification. We've spent a great deal of time discussing this in past posts. In short: good behavior=reward, bad behavior=punishment/ignored. As Tripp says, it's not wrong to praise our children for doing what is right, yet they should not be rewarded for fulfilling normal responsibilities. If we change a child's behavior and never reach his heart, we've accomplish nothing biblical.
#4: Emotionalism. This is what the lady in the opening illustration was using. She appealed to her child's fear of being alone in a strange place. Tripp even comments on the "kinder" use of this method. For example, when we as parents say, "It really makes me feel bad when you talk like that. You are hurting my feelings." Sometimes, we may even shame our child into behavior. Maybe we say, "You're letting down your father and hurting his reputation by acting such a way." When we use this method, we're training our children to respond to fear of emotional privation.
#5: Punitive Correction. This is when the threat of punishment is the regular and only way a parent controls his child. The child learns to be afraid or pay the consequences. Tripp reminds us that he is "not decrying a biblical use of the rod, but rather and impulsive response of angry frustration." It surprised me to find "grounding" listed here. Don't most parents ground? What could be wrong with that? The main thing is that issues of the heart are never addressed. Sure, the child may not call his sister a 'such-and-such' again but his heart hasn't changed any. He may still mumble it under his breath. Tripp believes that grounding is so consistently used universally because it's "quick, incisive, simple." For example: "You're grounded for a month. Go to your room." Wow. I never thought about it in these ways.
#6: Erratic Eclecticism. Erratic in that it constantly moves and always changes. Eclectic in that it draws from pieces of a variety of methods. Some ideas were taken from a t.v. show, some from a program, some from the church, some from their parents. This method leaves children confused and unsure of expectations. Now they are really lost.
In evaluating these methods, Tripp once again brings us back to "shepherding a child's heart." We need to reach the sins behind the behavior. If a young boy slaps his sister when she takes his toy, what should we deal with? The slap alone? Of course not. His selfish heart and anger should be addressed. But he's not the only culprit. The sister needs to be addressed for her selfishness as well. We need to get to the root of the behavior. Once the root is addressed (and corrected), the behavior will follow. We have to remember to point our children to Christ. These every day struggles are our most natural avenues to show them who God is, who they are, and why they need Christ.
Wow. I feel like I've written way too much. What are some unbiblical methods you've noticed in your own childrearing? As the mother of a toddler, I can lean towards behavior modification and punitive correction. But even at such a young age, my daughter needs to be hearing the truths of the gospel in preparation for the day she will finally understand them.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
"Please hold," she said.
"No problem," I responded. Then I realized she wasn't talking to me, she was talking to someone on the phone.
I continued to stand. She looked up at me for a split second and continued answering the phone.
Approximately five minutes passed.
I watched as they continued to stress. One guy suggested they call someone into work. Another glance at me, no comment.
Another two to three minutes pass. I have still not even been greeted. No one said, "Can you wait just a moment?" or anything.
At this point, I was starting to get a bit frustrated. "Does she not realize that it's better business to talk to the person standing right in front of you verses continuing to answer the phone and completely ignoring the in-store customer?"
Finally, she comes up to me and quickly says, "Last name?"
She's walks away, grabs my pizzas and tells me the price. I hand her cash and she breathes heavily as she had to go get change.
We got home and somehow not to my surprise, the pizza was barely lukewarm. Approximately $33 of lukewarm pizza and bad service. I really wanted to write the store manager and express my thoughts. But God kept tugging my heart. "Okay Lord," I thought. "How can I show grace in this situation? Isn't it enough that I didn't tell her what I was thinking that very night? Shouldn't the store manager know about this? I was already nice and smiling at her in the midst of the obnoxious visit. Isn't that grace?" So when I had the chance, I asked my husband what he thought. He reminded me that this was the very first time we'd ordered pizza from this company. I would be showing grace by not mentioning this one situation to them. Maybe it was just an off night. If it continued, then of course it'd be wise to say something (lovingly that is). Yet I was showing grace by extending the benefit of a doubt that night. What a great God-seeking husband I have!
How can you show grace this week? Let's point people to the Lord by extending grace to them as He has to us.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
For now, I'm going to keep the Monday Music Review and the Saturday Shepherding a Child's heart. In addition, I'm going to start posting on random topics related to being a "Titus 2 woman" as they arise. In the past, that is what this entire blog consisted of. Stay tuned for my post tomorrow on how Grace and Pizza relate to one another!
Monday, May 5, 2008
I also asked the doc about her cheeks and the tiny little pimple-looking things all over them. They've been there for quite a while now, about nine months or so at least. Well, I learned that it's not 'baby acne' or pimples at all. It's a skin condition called Keratosis Pilaris. Basically, it's more of an annoyance than anything. It doesn't itch or hurt and up to 50% of the population has it somewhere on their body (usually upper arms or legs). As a matter of fact, I never knew it had a name but I have it on the back of my upper arms as well. There is no "cure" for it but things can be done to reduce its unsightly appearance. Oh well, we all need something to keep us humble, right? Maybe this will be Hannah's trial, who knows? I'd rather it be something like this than many other things.
Hannah continues to grow big and fast! She's not walking yet but making the occasional attempt. She's "cruising" all over the place though. Since she's learned to point, she points at EVERYTHING waiting for you to tell her what it is or get it for her. It's kind of cute. ;)
Until next time,
Album Title: The Altar and the Door
Artist(s): Casting Crowns
(Hear the song here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=CjRFZEpihNc):
Careless, I am recklessMy thoughts:
I’m a wrong-way-travelin’-slowly-unraveling shell of a man
Burnt out, I’m so numb now
That the fire’s just an ember way down in the corner of my cold, cold heart
Lord, this time I’ll make it right, here at the altar I lay my life
Your kingdom come but my will was done, my heart is broken as I...
Cry, like so many times before
But my eyes are dry before I leave the floor, oh Lord
I try but this time, Jesus, how can I be sure I will not lose my follow through
Between the altar and the door
Here at the altar, oh my world so black and white
How could I ever falter
What You’ve shown me to be right
I’m trying so hard to stop trying so hard
Just let You be who You are
Lord, who You are in me
Jesus, I’m trying so hard to stop trying so hard
Just let You be who You are
Lord, who You are in me
This song does a great job responding to the words of Paul in Romans
"I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing." - Romans 7:15-19 (ESV)
Often times we have the desire to do what is right. And yet, over and over again, we do the opposite. If Paul, a great man of God, struggled with the same problem, why shouldn't we?
In the beginning, the song mentions crying before the altar and yet having dry eyes before we even stand. Have you ever been caught up in the emotional whirlwind of "doing" good for God? I know I have. I tell the Lord things like: "This time God. This time I'll do it right." Or maybe even, "Lord, I'll never do ___________ (fill in the blank) again." And then before we know it, we're struggling with the same sin. What seemed so black and white is now all of a sudden gray.
Yet Paul did not end with verse 19 of Romans seven. In verses 24-25 he says:
"Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin." - (ESV)We can never live in sinless perfection. BUT the great news is that, in Jesus Christ, we have a God who did.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. - Heb 4:15 (ESV)If we know Him as our Lord and savior, we are forgiven in Christ. Should we try to live as He has called us. Of course! Yet when we fail, we have forgiveness and reconciliation in God.
Praise the Lord!
Saturday, May 3, 2008
In regards to the spoon: oh yeah. This was highly entertaining for yours truly. Hannah fed herself with the spoon a couple of times and I ran to get the camera. Man, I'm a sucker for technology!
Regarding the swollen eyes, Hannah has had some issues this week. I believe she's starting to pick up a problem that I have. When I awake from sleep, my eyes are very swollen and hard to open. Yesterday Hannah's eyes were beyond swollen and even a bit gunky. Today they were better but still swollen. Poor thing. Hopefully it's nothing to worry about. I'm going to keep my eye out on it and whether or not we need to pay a doctor's visit.
I've been MIA this week because my mom was in town. We had a great time with her and Hannah thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her Memaw!
Last week we discussed unbiblical goals for our children. Now we'll discuss our goals in light of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever - the chief end of man.
When do social skills go wrong? When then are used to teach our children to trust in themselves rather than God, they go wrong. When families sacrifice time with one another and worship of God for these activities, it is wrong. Our families should be exercising physically to keep our bodies in the condition God meant for them to be in. We just need to be sure that God-glorifying lessons are being taught as a result and the children are growing spiritually as a result.
When does psychological adjustment go wrong? When it goes against Scripture. Tripp uses the example of the child being bullied. Many parents (even Christian ones) will train their children not to start a fight but if one is started, "to end it." Yet Scripture reminds us that God is our justifier, not ourselves. We need to remind our children that "a soft answer turns away wrath." We need to show them how to use hurt to love God and deepen their trust in Him. Does this mean our children should not tell the proper authority of such physical abuse? Of course not!
When does getting our children saved go wrong? When looking for a major spiritual salvation event becomes our goal - that's when. Our children need to be spiritually nurtured. We need to be constantly and consistently pointing them to the Lord. They need to see their need of Christ's work on the cross and well as their need to repent of their sin and trust in Christ. It is about a lifestyle, not just a moment.
When does family worship go wrong? It fails when it is used as the end and not a means to an end. It is about knowing God, not checking off another thing on the "Christian Disciplines" list. Tripp suggests a daily reading of verses in Proverbs. He also suggests acting out Bible stories and making them come alive for our children.
When do well-behaved children go wrong? When manners (for example) are not linked to a biblical vision but only social manipulation, it is wrong. Tripp uses the example of saying "please" and "thank you." We should be teaching our children these things are right because they are rooted in the biblical truth of looking out for the interests of others above ourselves.
Lastly, when is good eduction wrong? Tripp says that grades are unimportant. Wow. What a revolution for even myself. I was always obsessed with my grades, not just in high school but through college and even my Master's degree. And yet who cares what my grades were now? does God? No. What is important is that our children learn to do their work (to the best of their abilities) diligently for God. He has promised to reward the faithful.
In the end Tripp deals with the question, "what if my children are not believers?" He says he'll come back to that in a later chapter but reminds us that God calls all people to the same standards. Some rebel but the standard is the same. By continuing to point to God's word, we're pointing our children to Christ. Our over-arching objective in parenting should be teaching our children to live for the glory of God. Life is only found in knowing and serving the true and living God. What a great chapter!