I have just finished reading this book, Don’t Make Me Count To Three by Ginger Plowman. It is SO GOOD!
I have been contemplating how hard it is to kind of start over with child raising. Adopting the girls when our daughter was eighteen felt like going back in time a long ways. And in regards to discipline and behavior it has definitely been like starting over.
A friend had recommended a book to me when Kelsey and Grant were about sixteen and fourteen. It was “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Tedd Tripp. It was a great book and reading it I realized that we had not parented that way – focusing on the child’s heart attitude behind their behavior. The thing is that when I read that book I felt like it was good, but I wasn’t sure how to apply it. I assumed that we had set patterns with our kids and we weren’t going to change them. I also remember thinking that the book had a great premise, but did not give me practical ways of implementing it – at least not that was obvious to me.
When the girls came I picked up that book again and began to read it. While in the process of re-reading it, I happened to see in a catalog I was looking at for adoption resources a book title that caught my eye. It was “Don’t Make Me Count To Three”. I read the description and decided that was exactly what I needed.
The premise of DMMCTT is that we have a biblical mandate from God as parents to teach and train our children when we are siting down, when we are standing, or walking in the way – in other words in everything we do with our children we should be teaching them the precepts of God’s word. We all KNOW this, some of us just aren’t sure HOW to go about doing this in a practical way. Ginger Plowman doesn’t just tell you the concept of reaching our child’s heart she gives you specific examples as they have played out with her own children. When you can read the exact words that she said in specific situations you get the idea of how to implement the concept. It isn’t that it is a hard concept. It is just that wasn’t the way I learned how to parent. So, for me, it is taking some thinking before I respond to a discipline situation with the girls.
The author’s handy mantra she teaches her kids of, “Obey right away, all the way, and with a joyful heart” sums up her method. The actual steps of discipline are: 1) Ask the child a heart probing question. Not something like, “Why did you do that?” but more like “Are you purposing in your heart to promote peace, or are you stirring up trouble?” 2) Reproof (put off), state the biblical standard they are breaking using scripture. 3) Encouragement (put on) Give them the positive biblical mandate to replace their action.
I have begun to teach the girls this saying so that they realize what is expected of them. Their English is good enough that we can have the conversations that we need to in order to not only correct or rebuke the bad behavior or choice, but to tell them why it is wrong – what the Bible says about it – and then give them the correct action that God expects of them. It really is common sense when you think about it, but to do it correctly, you have to take the time every time something comes up to rebuke and exhort and then discipline.
The first day that I put this into practice I needed to talk to Kalindi about disrespect. We had a great talk and then discipline was administered. I also told her that she had not only disobeyed me, but that she had disobeyed God and so she needed to pray and tell God she was sorry for her actions and to ask him to help her make the right choices. It was so interesting how repentent she was when she had to voice this in a prayer. It seemed to really reach her heart which is the whole point!
I was so happy to have found this book for several reasons. The first, is that I believe it practically teaches how to administer biblical, godly discipline. And what does that kind of discipline teach? I am teaching them that God is the ultimate authority and giving them a pattern of how to live their Christian lives. I am teaching them biblical precepts that will hopefully guide them in their behavior and decision making now and in the future.
If you are interested in this book, you can go to the Shepherd Press website and see all their resources. If you are interested in purchasing Don’t Make Me Count to Three or Ginger’s scripture reference guide that goes with the book called, Wise Words for Mom you can find them at that website along with other great looking family resources they have there.
Thanks for reading, Lori