Discipline That Preaches
The chapter this week has probably been the most practical yet, in that it has some specific steps and instructions for disciplining kids. Farley lays out a suggested model for discipline, based on eight steps for how to connect discipline to the gospel. His most important point, I thought, was to "use the discipline event to rehearse the gospel." (pg. 169) Unfortunately, he didn't give very much as to what this looks like or sounds like in a real life situation. I have found this to be very important in my own parenting, so I have had to learn how to do this in a discipline situation. I haven't done it perfectly - especially in the beginning. I would say that because my previous understanding of the gospel has really been to hear revival-type preaching, followed by an altar call where I would "re-dedicate" my life (again) to Jesus, I had a lot to overcome in learning what this meant, so that my poor kids didn't get THAT everytime they were disciplined. In order to avoid this in your home, I would suggest that you really dig into some resources regarding what the gospel really is about- make sure you understand it! Explain it to your kids over and over again in non-discipline settings, so when the emotion of discipline comes about, you don't sound like a hell-fire preacher who is bent on converting their sinful souls.
Last chapter I recommended Tedd Tripp's book, Shepherding a Child's Heart, because it is so careful and thorough about presenting practical steps to follow when disciplining your child. After reading the chapter this week, I feel even more strongly that you need to read Tripp's book to get a good handle on what Farley is saying about discipline. I sort of felt like in this chapter that Farley had read Tripp's book, but he breifly summarized (some) of Tripp's method and moved on. The how-to of discipline, especially the use of corporal discipline can be a very difficult subject and I don't think that Farley does it justice just to claim that it is necessary and biblical. In this day and age, he really needs to do a more thorough job of explaining his reasoning, answering objections and helping parents to understand this in the right light. Tripp's book does that. Not only that, but he emphasizes other very important elements that need to be a part of discipline besides just the corporal discipline. Tripp discusses child development, authority, biblical and unbiblical goals, unbiblical discipline methods, and then several chapters on biblical methods - three on communication, one on appeal to the conscience and one on "the rod". This is the kind of thorough coverage of the subject of discipline methods that I appreciated as I was considering how discipline should look in our family.
In addition to Tedd Tripp's book, I would also highly recommend Jessica Thompson and Elyse Fitzpatrick's book, Give Them Grace. This book is also very specific in what a conversation with your child sounds like that "rehearses the gospel" - from everyday corrections, to specific discipline events. Where Gospel-Powered Parenting opened my eyes to the importance of using the gospel and not just the law in my parenting, Give Them Grace and Shepherding a Child's Heart gave me specifics and practical help.
Here are some links to the books recommended today. I didn't use any affiliate links, because I don't want you to think I have promoted these books for my own gain. I won't receive any compensation from your purchasing any of these books. And you really should get them!
Give Them Grace by Jessica Thompson and Elyse Fitzpatrick
$7.99 for Kindle at Amazon
$9.99 for Paperback at CBD
Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
$4.99 for Kindle at Amazon
$8.99 for Paperback at CBD
And this is a good (free!) video from Jessica and Elyse on the content of their book... if you want a little bit more information and insight into what it is about.
Parenting Issues: A Mother and Daughter Perspective (Elyse Fitzgerald and Jessica Thompson)
Other book club posts can be found on the Book Club Page.