Much of this book draws from Shepherding A Child's Heart by Ted Tripp. However, this book has more practical application than Tripp's book. The primary focus of her book is to help us to recognize that when children disobey their parent's, they are disobeying God. Before we can expect their behavior to change we must recognize the most important thing is repentance before the Lord. That relationship needs to be restored first so that their heart can be changed!
Plowman recognizes that most parents are tempted to simply correct behavior in their children and not take the additional time and energy to invest in the hearts of their little ones. “It’s easy for us to tell our children they have done wrong and chastise them for it, but it takes much more preparation, disciple, understanding, and self-control on our part to actually instruct them according to God’s Word.” She walks through the steps necessary to effectively be able to “train up our children in the way they should go.” In summary, these steps include identifying their sin, helping them to repent to God, applying discipline, and then walking them through the appropriate behavior that should have taken place so they know how to respond in the future. Her philosophy behind this is rooted in Ephesians. Plowman writes, "I am teaching them to 'put off' corrupt and deceitful desires and to 'put on' the righteousness and holiness of God."
This book really revolutionized how I look at disciplining my own children.
Through numerous illustrations, personal examples, and scripture references she is able to communicate the importance of Godly parenting. I also really appreciated the topics covered in the appendix: How to Become a Christian, How to Lead Your Child to Christ, and How to Pray for Your Child. I also loved the chart “Wise Words for Moms” that I now use as a cheat sheet to help me figure out what sin issue to address, what behaviors need to be put off and put on, and scripture passages that help communicate God’s expectations for us.
I do want to caution you, do not read this book if you are not looking for conviction within your own heart. There were many days that I would read a paragraph and immediately be given the opportunity to put what I had learned into practice (I’m not exaggerating when I say IMMEDIATELY). There were also many days where I would read and an hour later I had forgotten what I learned and reverted back to my lazy, inconsistent, bribing, threatening, and non-scriptural techniques of parenting. The more I read the more I was convicted about how little scripture I have memorized that is useful for instructing my children. You need to know before you begin reading this book that you are a failure and it’s only by the grace of Christ that you can succeed as a parent at all. If you plan to read this book you MUST be ready to apply the gospel to your own heart on a moment-to-moment basis. There are so many areas that I know I fail at every day and this book reminded me of how I must humbly approach God’s throne for the strength and endurance to love my children rightly.
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