Monday, March 15, 2010

Parent Education - March 10

Quite often, I have parents ask me for ideas on how to appropriately discipline their children. In Tedd Tripp's book Shepherding a Child's Heart, he talks about the fact that we need to not focus so much on the behavior, but the heart. With disciplinarian as one of my roles, this book has grabbed my attention and I am sure it will yours as well. Here is an excerpt from the book.

"Luke 6:45 says, "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." This passage is instructive for the task of childrearing. It teachs that behavior is not the basic issue. The basic issue is always what is going on in the heart. Remember, the heart is the control center of life."

"Parents often get sidetracked with behavior. If your goal in discipline is changed behavior, it is easy to understand why this happens.The thing that alerts you to your child's need for correction is his behavior. Behavior irritates and thus calls attention to itself. Behavior becomes your focus. You think you have corrected when you have changed unacceptable behavior to behavior that you sanction and appreciate."

""What is the problem?" you ask. The problem is this: Your child's needs are far more profound than his aberrant behavior. Remember, his behavior does not just spring forth uncaused. His behavior - the things he says and does - reflects his heart. If you are to really help him, you must be concerned with the attitudes of heart that drive his behavior."

"A change in behavior that does not stem from a change in heart is not commendable; it is condemnable. Is it not the hypocrisy that Jesus condemned in the Pharisees? In Matthew 15, Jesus denounces the Pharisees who have honored him with their lips while their hearts were far from him. Jesus censures them as people who wash the outside of the cup while the inside is still unclean. Yet this is what we often do in childrearing. We demand changed behavior and never address the heart that drives the behavior."

ECS Student Leadership Team Trip

This past Friday, Mr. Wilhite and I took the student leadership team (SLT) on an overnight leadership training trip with the help of two ECS moms. We started off by going to Boonville Middle School where we worked with the students in the moderate and severe/profound special education classes. The students were able to play games with the BMS students and also observe them screen printing t-shirts. The school received a few grants that allowed them to purchase all the equipment necessary to start a screen printing shop. This allows the students to work on their life skills with an emphasis on their gross and fine motor skills. The students were able to see, first hand, the struggles that some students face and the determination and positive approach they face it with. The students didn't want to leave.

We left the school and traveled to Gray Brother's Cafe in Mooresville, Indiana for dinner and then on to the hotel. We had a great debriefing session! The SLT students talked about the fact they were nervous going into the class but were surprised how easy it was to talk with the BMS students and how willing they were to accept our kids as friends. They reflected on the fact that the BMS students were so positive and they helped each other in their weaknesses. One ECS student commented on the fact that they grew excited over what we consider a menial task. She went on to say that it showed her, "just how much we complain and also how much we take for granted." We went on to look up some scriptures together as a group. To conclude our meeting, we talked about how we could take the insights they have gained from their experience and pass them on to the students at ECS. When the meeting was over, we all spent the next hour or so in the pool and hot tub. It was a lot of fun!

The next morning, we had breakfast and started our day off with a Bible study led by Mr. Wilhite. The focus was leadership and how Christ said to be the first you must be the last. When we concluded our study, we traveled to the Children's Museum in Indianapolis for the afternoon. The students went around to the different exhibits and just enjoyed themselves for a few hours. It was a great opportunity for the students to build deeper friendships.

We got back to ECS Saturday night around 6:30pm. What stands out about the trip was the answers given to the question, "what was the best part of this trip?" Given all the fun stuff we did, all the students said their favorite part of the trip was working with the students at BMS. They all wanted to go back. It was great to see the Lord speak to them on this trip about attitude, perseverance, complaining, leadership, acceptance, etc. Please pray that the Lord will continue to use them to make a difference, not only here at ECS, but also in our community.