I recently read "Don't Make Me Count to Three!" A Mom's Look at Heart-Oriented Discipline by Ginger Plowman. This book is very much influenced by Tedd Tripp's well-known book, Shepherding A Child's Heart. Both books present the same parenting philosophy: effective, biblical parenting is not just correcting outward behavior, but reaching and shaping your child's heart. But where Tripp's book is heavy on theory, Ginger Plowman gets much more practical. She gives words to say for specific situations, ideas of scriptures to memorize and use when correcting and training, and a chart of heart probing questions to ask your child.
Her chapter, "Training Children in Righteousness," was especially helpful to me. It is based on Ephesians 4:22-24, which says, "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Plowman's point in this chapter is that we can't just tell our children that their behavior is bad, they shouldn't do it, and give them some form of punishment. We also need to train them how to "put on the new self." We need to show them what they should do just as much as we need to tell them what they shouldn't do.
This morning I had an opportunity to put this into practice. Calvin was on the floor reading a book when Teddy crawled over and started grabbing at it. Calvin yelled at Teddy and pushed him away. Teddy, of course, cried. I told Calvin that he was not to push his brother, and in doing so he was thinking only of himself ("put off your old self"). Calvin apologized to Teddy and asked for forgiveness. Then, I told Calvin, "Teddy wants to read also. You can be kind to him by finding him some board books. And you can sit on the couch, out of his way, where you won't be tempting him to grab your book." (this is how he can "put on the new self").
Many of you seasoned parents already know this concept and have practiced it for years, I'm sure. I'm new at this and at times feel that it takes more patience, wisdom, and creativity than I possess. But I am grateful for the wise, biblical advice of Ginger Plowman, and would highly recommend this book.