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About That Discipline Post . . .

on July 29 | in Parenting | by | with 12 Comments

If you saw me making yapping gestures while driving on Grapevine Highway yesterday, I can explain.

I was arguing. With my hand. In. A. Car.

Let me try that again, because I’m pretty sure I still sound crazy. Okay, the kids were dangerously near a naptime meltdown and I desperately needed Aurora the puppet dog to help soothe prickly emotions. Unfortunately he was off touring retirement kennels in Cape Cod. So I improvised.

It’s what we do as parents, right? Grow. Change. Mix things up. And yes, argue with ourselves on occasion. I don’t know about you, but Last Year Me does not see parenting the same way as Current Me, and I’m sure Future Me will think we’re both laughably mistaken. But if for no other reason than to better argue with myself, I’d like to clarify Current Me’s position as stated in I’m Ditching Discipline.

So Here It Is . . .

Choosing to focus on discipleship with my children is not really about eradicating discipline. It’s about redefining it in a constructive way while trying to live out the most essential aspect of my faith in front of my kids: Grace.

Wait, isn’t grace just a cop out for pushover parents? I thought so for most of my life. In fact, despite being in church for many years now I could not give you a working definition of grace until this year. And actually, I still can’t quite distill it into words. But Jesus is called “the one and only . . . . full of grace and truth,” so it must be important, right?

Grace AND Truth. Not Grace OR Truth or Some Grace but Mostly Truth.

Grace and truth – blended together into discipleship – are as essential to parenting as sugar and flour are to boysenberry pie. Discipline is more like salt:  – absolutely essential, but overwhelming if too much is used. So when I said I was ditching discipline, I meant that I’m tired of making salt pie after salt pie.

So while I’m ditching it as my primary focus for the personal reasons I already mentioned, there will always be a place for correction. But when things get hairy and I’m tempted to pull out the strong stuff, I hope to remind myself that only a pinch is needed. Old habits die hard, and I will be doing a lot of self-correction while I try to get the hang of things, but I’m committed.

Now, what constitutes biblical correction is a whole other can of worms. Let’s save that debate for another day. :)

Does this make sense or am I just a girl talking to her own hand over here???

Photo credit: Image Shack

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12 Responses to About That Discipline Post . . .

  1. Does this make sense or am I just a girl talking to her own hand over here???

    • Alison says:

      Love it! Sick of salt pie too!
      Speaking of salt that reminds me of Matthew 5:13 which says we are the salt of the earth. As you said for our children a little salt can be good…
      A preservative- salt prevents decay, we can teach our children to prevent decay and death and turn to Jesus for eternal life (and to point others to Him)
      A seasoning- salt brings out the innate, natural flavors of something…we are adding spice and flavor to our society as Christians
      A disinfectant- we are cleaning out the godless ways to prepare for what God has in store for us
      Melting ice- we can help melt hearts with kindness

  2. Emily Cowles Brown via FB says:

    makes sense to me! But, sometimes I think explaining this stuff to those who have yet to have their eyes opened is like talking to a wall (know what I mean??) Same as trying to convince someone to eat traditional foods….or accept the Gospel……sometimes it’s so much more about THEIR timing (and the Holy Spirit’s promptings), than it is about our desire to get them to understand. OK, maybe it’s ALWAYS about that! :) Nevertheless, I LOVE the “salt pie” example! You are great with words!

  3. shannon says:

    totally makes sense. and it’ll be harder for you to change than for the kids for sure! :) i’m trying that same type thing right now. :)

  4. Thanks for letting me know it made sense, Emily. I was up way past my bediime so I couldn’t really tell. SUH-leep, please!

  5. totally makes sense! i have been struggling to find the balance too. there are a lot of things i failed to nip in the bud that are now harder to deal with, so i’ve been trying to work on the training aspect of parenting. i think my pendulum swings a lot. between trying to be super strict so they learn to honor and obey as they should, and showing grace, focusing on our relationship as being more important than obedience. it’s SO hard! i tend to become too harsh when i’m trying to be firm, and tend to become too permissive when i’m trying to be gracious, relaxed and peaceful. I’m definitely learning to pray for wisdom in parenting lately, because most days i feel completely clueless!

  6. Lars says:

    Hi,
    i am yet to be blessed with children but I have 3 dogs and a cat so boundaries and respect are daily issues.
    I have replaced ‘discipline’ with ‘dedication’ in my mental self talk toward myself and dealing with the habits & behavior of my ‘pack’..
    It has produced a lovely change in all the relationship dynamics and within me.
    Thanks for the post and yes we are ever evolving and learning how to Be in our world.

    L:-)

  7. Jennifer says:

    I love this too and your refinement totally made sense to me. My husband is going to wonder why I’m walking around mumbling about “salt pie” and “pinching” air with my fingers while our kids are going bonkers.

  8. Rebekah says:

    Just ran across your blog– I am enjoying it very much! We do not have children yet (soon, Lord willing) but I spend a lot of time with kids in the 2 to 8 age range. I have also seen a lot of different parenting methods, and you perfectly expressed what I have been slowly concluding about Biblical parenting. It is hard, it is a balance, and it requires you to give your children both truth and grace.

  9. Kate S. says:

    This makes a lot of sense to me! Especially that you were using grace instead of ‘discipline’ when the kids were tired and upset in the car. It’s so easy just to say “Be quiet or (insert consequence of choice here)” during car rides and, while I have definitely caught myself doing that, I don’t believe it’s the best way. Kids are kids and they are loud and have energy and do not react well if they’re overtired. And if I as the parent have kept mine up past nap time, I’M the one who caused the child’s behaviour so I don’t feel it’s fair of me to then punish them for it when I have the option of doing something else that could help them deal with the difficulties of being too tired. This is a wonderful article and helped me understand your previous article more.

    • Heather says:

      Good point, Kate. I often realize my daughter is hungry when she starts getting LOUD. Asking her to be quiet doesn’t help much, but feeding her does!

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