Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Like a Shepherd Seven: Preventive and Corrective Discipline

Sources used in today's MOMs meeting were Parenting by God's Promises by Joel Beeke, Ginger Plowman's Don't Make Me Count to Three, and Everyday Talk by John Younts, all of which can be found in the FPC Learning Resource Center or at the normal locations. I recommend Ginger Plowman's book for elementary age children and older. All are very practical and biblically foundational, a combination often difficult to find in books on parenting. I also like Teach Them Diligently by Louis Priolo. Each of these authors goes to Eph.6:4 as their home base for preventive and corrective discipline. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Biblical discipline is directed at a teachable mind and spirit in order to make a follower or disciple of both Jesus and parent, involving Christ-like parental love, the mind and heart of parent and child, based on the Word of God.
We read in Hebrews For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, then you are illegitimate children, not sons 12:8. Discipline is a mark of godly love of a parent for a child. By nature we prefer convenience and comfort, and loathe the conflict and diligent effort that consistent godly discipline requires. In the weary days of  parenting young children it's easy to think, "I'll deal with that next time." Trouble is, Junior's discipline problems left untended grow in direct proportion to the size of his clothing. As one of my favorite counselors says, "Deal with it now, or deal with it later, but you WILL deal with it." Knowing how to discipline our children doesn't necessarily come easily, quickly, or naturally, and what we find works for Junior makes for a major mom-fail with Sister. In either case, we are wise to remember that all of our actions, parent and child alike, result from what lies in the heart. Proverbs 4:23; 22:15. The state of Junior's heart is serious business for the Christian parent. Jesus lived and died to pay for and to cleanse Junior from sin. God takes sin seriously, and so should we. Our hearts as parents must be steadfastly set on loving Jesus and following Him as an example to our children.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:7). Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). The heart and mind are connected and the God-inspired scriptures are profitable for teaching and reproof...preventive and corrective discipline! Sister grabs Junior's Legos and he takes her down. 1 Cor.13:4,5 tells us that love is patient and kind; it does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. Because Junior is enjoying his Legos, taking them would make him sad and would be rude as well. Love is not rude. It is also patient and kind. Sister, you may play with the Legos when Junior is finished with them. And Junior doesn't get off the hook here. (For the more complete discussion of this scenario you'll have to get the recording of today's message.)
If you ask Junior why he hit his sister, you're likely to get an, "I don't know." Most tiny-tots are unable to discern matters of their heart and to explain in reality why they do what they do. But hitting is neither patient nor kind. The great news is that God's word provides instruction on the "next time" event in 1 Cor.10:13. ..when you are tempted He will provide for you a way out. God provides a better way for us. Help Junior see that.
As parents we want to draw from our young'uns an assessment of what they are thinking, how they express themselves (that's not too hard to see), how their thoughts, words, and actions compare to God's word, and how they can think, speak and act in a way that shows God's point of view.
Just remember:
*Husbands and wives need to present a united front to their children. This necessitates discussion, praying and planning how you as a couple will discipline your children.
*Children need to learn early on that Momma and Daddy are the ones who "get to say."
*Children need to be instructed and told what is expected of them, even when they don't understand exactly why. Have the expectation conversation with them. "When we get to the Smiths' house there will be no running inside, no throwing yourself on the furniture, say yes ma'am and no sir, and do not ask for food. Got it?" No lecturing or brow beating. They'll just turn off their ears and minds.
*Parents need to take into account (with great wisdom) the personalities, maturity, and mental capacity of their children as well as their own strengths and weaknesses as they discipline their children. One child can be turned with a frown while the next may have ears, a mind, and heart of concrete.
What about corrective discipline? My favorite definition is "applying the rod of correction to the seat of understanding." :) Corrective discipline is a consequential action in response to willful disobedience, moral failure, or disregard for danger. It can range from time out, loss of privileges, manual labor, to spanking. Here is a recommended process:
1. Punishment is administered from love for the child, not anger. Take time to cool off when Junior makes you mad as a hornet. Pray Lord, quench my anger, fill me with love for my child, and let me punish him with compassion and a desire to do him good all the says of his life. Keep me from being like Eli who failed to discipline, but also keep me from being a Saul. 1Sam.3:13;14:43,44.
2. Punishment is administered in plan with prayer. Mom and Dad need to be a united team who has prayed for the wisdom God promises to give liberally (James 1:5). Pray with your children that God would work in their hearts to make them more and more like His own Son Jesus, whose joy it was to do the will of His Father.
3. Administer punishment with faith that God will use His appointed means to bring all of His children to repentance, a saving knowledge of Him, and a desire to live for Him. Do you presume  on the riches of God's kindness, forbearance, and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Rom.2:4.
4. Punishment is administered appropriately
*Not in anger
*With confession (which will serve them well throughout life)
*With a preordained number of swats that will sting, but NEVER injure
*Hold him (even if he's angry) There is safety, security and restoration.
*Pray with him Father, I pray that you would show us how we may live to honor you and your word, Guide us in the paths of righteousness, show us when we wander from the path. Forgive us when we sin against you and each other and restore us to you and our family.
*Guide your child to restoration and restitution where needed.
Once again, this is a summary and listening to the recording will fill in gaps and provide a more detailed explanation on this difficult subject. Thanks again for the effort you all make to be there and to participate with your discussion and questions. Two more weeks left!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

In honor of Math Girl's 40th birthday she and I set out for Replacements Ltd. in McLeansville, NC, near Greensboro. I'm not sure what I thought we were going to find, but 500,000 square feet of over 400,000 patterns of china, crystal, silver, and collectibles was far more than I expected. The owner Bob Page began visiting estate sales and in 1981 quit his regular job to begin selling from his vast collections.  This is the Great Wall of China featuring their 500 most popular patterns of china. Don't worry, if you don't see yours through the glass windows, chances are they have your pattern, your mother's pattern, your everyone's pattern tucked away somewhere. Their online site has a form to fill out that will send their detectives in search of your family's treasures and collectibles.

One of my first thoughts was who gets to dust all of these glass shelves and thousands of goblets?
I really know how to take the fun out of everything.

 Math Girl and I anticipated sorting through sky high stacks of plates, cups, saucers and bowls. That's not how it works. The showroom doubles as a museum and most of what is seen is happily ensconced in gigantic, gorgeous antique display cases from jewelry stores and the grand old department stores.

 These treasures all enjoy silent repose on a piece from J.P. Morgan's estate. Remember, during WWII many of America's art masterpieces were placed there for safe keeping as he had one of the few climate controlled mansions accessible by rail. Lots going on at J.P.'s house.
 Case after case of sterling silver hollowware. If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it. I remember as a child seeing a photograph of Queen Elizabeth's sterling dresser set. That was the first I'd heard of a dresser set, which solidified in my thinking the fact that I'd never be Queen of England. 

 Two of my little granddaughters reminded me as well of my queenly deficiencies. I don't live in England and I don't have royal blood. That settles it. Maybe I'll just have to buy the plate.

Or the figurines from the case of all things royal.
That will keep me humble.
Humbles. That's what my girls used to call these figurines.
This one was gigantic.
Nearly life size.
Do you like Wedgewood?
Mountains of it in baskets.
Or to wear just in time for spring.
Nothing says springtime like a spread of blue and white.
I'll have one of each, please.
We saw a table or two set with seasonal goodies.
And ladies in their spring finery.
Notice the eyelashes.
She could land a job on FOXnews.
Walk this way, please.
This way to the land of overstocks.
Now you're talking.
Just what I was looking for.
A little blue and white and a little red and white.
Every thirty minutes a guided tour of Chinatown is offered.
Have you ever seen a plate depicting the Exodus?
Never before, and surely not anywhere else.
The 500 most popular patterns are up front neatly stacked.
Then you enter the warehouses of china immemorial.
Row after row after stack after stack.
All in boxes. All meticulously labeled on each row, each shelf, each box.
If you are one of their thousands of online customers your pretty plates are lovingly packaged here for shipping. Replacements also devotes an entire department to research.
That sounds like a great job to me.
Also available are china, silver and crystal repair services. They'll even pierce a spoon or serving piece to order. Damaged in a fire or Katrina? No problem.
Replacements repairs or like the name implies.
That's their business.
Is your pattern Flora Danica circa 1761 from Royal Copenhagen?
$1400 for a cup and saucer and a tad less for a dinner plate.
That would make you as Mary Engelbreit says,
"The Queen of Quite a Lot"
If you're ever in the North Carolina Triad try to make the stop at
Replacements Ltd.
I didn't even mention the Christmas room.
Or Bob's Bargain Corner.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Like a Shepherd Six: Benevolent Ruler: Parenting as King

With Jesus as our model we as parents rule as benevolent and merciful kings. The task of a benevolent king is fourfold: to establish the kingdom, to protect and provide for his subjects, to lead his subjects in battle and to order everything for the good of the kingdom and his glory.
1. Establish the kingdom where we rule and reign
The family, the little kingdom was established in Genesis where the Lord planted a garden where He put the man He had formed (2:8) and declared that a man should leave his mother and father, be joined to his wife and become one flesh. The little kingdom and the authority, headship, and unity of the family is established. Psalm 45, the marriage psalm tells us that the king is fair, full of grace, truthful, humble, and righteous, hating evil. With its fulfillment in Christ, the bridegroom brings everything under His headship. As parent representative kings, we are to graciously speak the truth in humility, love holiness and despise evil. We teach our children that daddy and mama are their God-given authority.
2. Protect and provide for the subjects in the kingdom. Psalm45:3. Gird your sword upon your thigh, O Mighty One, with your glory and majesty. The king is thoroughly armed and equipped for battle. Our children are to be protected by their parents.
*protected from themselves as the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it? Jer17:9. The first and greatest danger to our children and ourselves is the sin nature with which we are born. As Pogo says, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
*protected from outside forces and influences that are harmful, sinful, or inappropriate for our children's level of maturity. Our children are the targets of an avalanche of commercial goods, pressure to be highly skilled in athletics and academics, and the objects of a sex-obsessed culture. Childhood is vital to the maturing process of life where they discover their creativity in the image of God, learn to follow spoken and unspoken rules, negotiate friendships, develop self-control, etc.
*provide for the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being of our children. A stable home where daddy and mama love one another and Jesus Christ is the greatest stability and security children can be given. We need to consider if this
activity, friend, hobby, book, movie, video game, etc. will contribute positively to the well-being of my child's physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being. And later, don't forget to consider if what they are doing is legal. Seriously :(
3. Lead our subjects into battle. Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies and its peoples fall under you. v5. Benevolent parent-kings are proactive in the battle against the enemies of the family, beginning with sin in the hearts of family members. Every person's battle is for who is seated on the throne of the heart. Daddy, you go first. God is deadly serious about sin because it ultimately leads to spiritual death. How do we lead our children into battle?
*By covering them daily in prayer
*By teaching God's word straight from the Book
*By modeling for them godly living
*By consistently holding them accountable for their own sin and allowing them to bear its consequences
*By providing a safe kingdom where they may safely fail and receive correction and encouragement
*By encouraging them when there is evidence of God's work in their hearts. Praise God, encourage Junior.
4. Order everything for God's glory and the good of the kingdom
Psalm 45:10-17 Jesus reigns for the good of the kingdom to God's glory. In this kingdom:
*the people live and love to serve their king vs.10,11 He is such a good and gracious king that his people willingly forsake others to come to him. Our desire is that our children will learn to love and submit to parents they can see in order to love and submit to a God they cannot see.
*the people of the kingdom are made beautiful by the benevolence of the king v10
Jesus' death on the cross bought for us his righteous clothing. We are clothed in the garments of the king and made beautiful because of Him. Hearing and heeding God's word is a crown of victory for  their head and a pendant of priceless wisdom for their neck. That which brings glory to God is good for the well-being of the kingdom.
*the people of the kingdom know great joy v18
Because of the benevolence of the king, his protection and provision, life with Him is a life of joy. Our children need to see that their parents willing live in joyful service to this great King and that their heart's desire is to see their children walking in the truth.
*the kingdom is an everlasting kingdom vs16,17
The royal line of David is fulfilled Jesus Christ, an everlasting covenant from one generation to the next. The words of our mouths will be in the mouths of our children until that day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory and praise of the King.