March 3, 2009

Before We Begin

I think I might be a bit of a closet nerd. Or maybe not closet. I think this is really cool. I have been reading parenting magazines since I was in highschool. In my defense, I spent a lot of my time helping moms out, and it was helpful information in tiny, well illustrated bits. Nothing heavy, like a textbook. ;) I also find developmental psychology pretty fascinating. I always loved reading about it in the parenting magazines. Even getting to take a whole class on it. Maybe getting to take quiz after quiz on developmental stages in pretty much every class. Well, maybe not that part. Anyway, until becoming a parent, I completely devoured this stuff. Honestly, it can be useful, or at least interesting to notice and identify the stages as they pass by in a blur.

Now that I have my own children, physical and even mental development take a back seat to spiritual development. Yes, I realize that they are all connected. However, I would say that, other than time spent taking care of food and bottoms, most of my time and concern is spent encouraging spiritual development. I include discipline in this category, but cause that is the reason why I discipline. That plus my sanity. All of those weeks and months spent learning the socially acceptable discipline methods are thrown out the window after months of living in the trenches. I have come to the conclusion that discipline feels like a battle sometimes because IT IS A BATTLE. The most important battle I will ever fight. It is the battle for my children's souls. There are a few implications here. The first and most important one, is, not to sound cliched, but this is a battle that must be won on my knees in prayer before it will be won anywhere else. And here is the hard part, what does God say about discipline. Well, lots. But as with most things, He did not include a detailed handbook. (Oh, I really wish there was one for potty training.)

Ginger Plowman's book, "Don't Make Me Count to Three": A Mom's Look at Heart-Oriented Discipline is such a wondeful resource. One of my friend's responses to this book was "Where has this book been and why didn't someone give it to me when my first was born?" And that pretty much sums it up. Here is why I completely love this book:
  1. It is completely biblically based. She has Bible verses to back up everything! It was the first parenting book that I read that I did not feel leaned too far one way. Not too strict. Not too lenient.
  2. Lest I feel overwhelmed by my lack of memorized scripture, she has a "cheat book" with common discipline issues and the verses that relate the them, as well as some recommended phrases for helping kiddos work through it.
  3. She has a wonderful combination of worst moments we can all relate too, happy moments that remind me why I love being a mom, encouragement to persvere, and very clearly explaining why this is important.
  4. She walks through several comic and very relatable situations from her own life and clearly lays out guidelines for working through the most common issues.
  5. Did I mention the "cheat book"? More like a calendar, called Wise Words for Moms? Destined to hang in my kitchen once I find where it was packed?
  6. I usually begin discipline books skeptically. This one, everytime she would make a point, it felt like what my heart had needed to hear for so long. The mommy heart that is torn between compassion and tenderness, and knowing that discipline is a necessary part of parenting (and the occasional or regular frustration.)

I really cannot say enough good things about this book. It is on my list of books I think all mommies with young children should read.

Why am I starting a preschool/education series with this? Because as useful as the rest of the knowlegde is, or can be, this is the most important thing. Teaching our children to love Christ and training the in the way He instructs us. If we cannot do these things, the rest is meaningless. :)


Elizabeth said...

I am so proud of you! I do not want to discourage you, but potty training is going to look pretty tame to the issues you will be facing later in their lives. I have even lamented, "Where are the potty training days?"
I will pray for the two of you, will you pray for us too? The sweet thing is, God loves them more than we do, and He is perfectly faithful. He will guide us, and help us and give us strength when we are weak. Ultimately, it is the work of the Holy Spirit that captures and changes hearts. That is why prayer is our secret weapon. I love you, Mom Winslow

Mandy said...

Thanks for the insight Mom. Of course we will be praying. I am just starting to see hints that this is the case. However, for now, I would really love to have a week where the poop is only in the diaper or the toilet. :) Oh well.