A few of my favorite quotes/thoughts from the book:
It is no abstract thing—the state of your heart is the state of your home. You cannot harbor resentment secretly toward your children and expect their hearts to be submissive and tender. You cannot be greedy with your time and expect them to share their toys. And perhaps most importantly, you cannot resist your opportunities to be corrected by God and expect them to receive correction from you.
Sin is a fact of life. It is the way we deal with it that changes ours.
If your son in his high chair is struggling with anger about his vegetables, you should be seeing a high school boy acting out after a lost basketball game. Give him the tools now that he will need then.
when our children are fussing, the antidote for them is gratitude.
So make sure that before you start rebuking them your own heart is in order. Thank God for the headache. Thank Him for these prime opportunities to teach. Thank Him for the scuffle that your children are currently having over who unbuckled who and why. And then, after your own heart has been sorted out, move on to theirs.
Teaching your kid to be a Thankster instead of a Crankster: So do a little test run with your kids. Ask them things like, "What would a Crankster do right now?" Our kids get a kick out of trying to drum up the most random things to complain about to make each other laugh. It really helps them to see a fussy attitude as petty and foolish. Then we talk about what a Thankster would see. Look out your window at things that you ought to be thankful for.
twenty minute rule. If things started seeming really out of control, I would look at the clock and note the time. Then, I would tell myself that in twenty minutes this would be over.
Christian childrearing is a pastoral pursuit, not an organizational challenge. Be a pastor to your children. Study them. Seek them out. Sacrifice the thing you were doing to work through minor emotional issues.
So while your children are little, cultivate an attitude of sacrifice. Sacrifice your peace for their fun. Your clean kitchen floor for their help cracking eggs. Your quiet moment for their long retelling of a dream that a friend of theirs allegedly had.
Prioritize your children far and away above the other work you need to get done. They are the only part of your work that really matters.
Most of the time the children do not know that what they are doing is overwhelming. This is because they do not forget that they are individuals.
Look out—look at the people who made you what you are—your husband and your children. Study them. They are you. If you want to know yourself, concentrate on them.
A Christian woman's view is always forward and never back. Your identity is to be found and resting in other people.
First of all we ask them to tell us what they did that was wrong, leaving the other person out of the narrative. We will probably spend a minute sorting through the blow by blow, and then ask "What is more important—this flashlight, or your sister?" After they answer (and believe it or not they do know the answer), we will ask them what they were pretending was more important. They know that too. So we tell them to get it right. They need to apologize to each other for breaking fellowship over a flashlight. I like for them to say that because it makes it perfectly clear to them what exchange they were making. Flashlight for sister. This is not a complex "who had it for how long" situation. It is not our job to run in and settle the dispute as though it were an honest and legitimate dispute. Flashlights are not to come between us in fellowship. Ever.
There is a wrong way to be right and a wrong way to be wrong.
Grabby hands come from grabby hearts.
It is important to stick to principles, teach principles, and then sort out the details in light of them. You need to look at what you think is happening in hearts and address that.
Generally at our house you have to ask to play with something that belongs to someone else, and generally they have to let you (if they aren't currently using it, and if it isn't brand new, super-special, or something you are likely to break).
You discipline because you are the rightful authority over them, and the rightful authority over the both of you is God. You need to be pointing them to His law as you explain yours. God said, "Love your neighbor as yourself," so Mama says, "You may not hit one another."
I try to remember that my relationship with my children will be, Lord willing, one of friendship far longer than it is one of authority. This phase where we wield the rod is a short one.
The best way to be sure of this is to emphasize fellowship. Fellowship with one another and with God. When you have disciplined there should be a restoration of fellowship.
Teach them what it looks like to live under authority by the way that you live under God's. When you sin against your children, make it right. Do not think that apologizing for being harsh will make you look like you shouldn't be in charge. They saw the sin; they need to see you make it right. It is an example to them of how to live under authority.
I had two cord-like things attached to the stroller—we called them the stations. They were responsible to hold onto their stations while we walked. This kept them right beside me, our pace pretty good, and I could see right away if they let go, and if they did they were still right beside me. It also made going on walks a total pleasure. Instead of spending the whole time saying, "Come on. Hurry up. Slow down. Stop there. Wait a minute," we would talk about other things—the plants we saw,
Obedience to God's law is freedom. Your kids should feel the same way about obeying you.
You should not be training them that obedience is bondage. Do not do epic training camps that teach them that obedience leads to sitting quietly on your hands and speaking to no one. Obedience to Scripture is life. So if you are giving lots of commands it should be things like, "Okay, stir this. Grab the eggs out of the fridge. Great. Dump in the flour. Nice job." God does not command things that make life miserable—His commands are a means of joy. Make your children understand that obedience leads to freedom and joy—it is the path of life.
Making expectations clear is hugely important. So is making them reasonable. Do not micromanage their lives. As a general rule of thumb, you should use this sort of tool as a way of decreasing the bossiness, not increasing.
Structure and freedom combined together make happy children.
Too much of either is very destructive.
But joy is not giddy. It is not an emotional rush—it is what happens when you accept your lot and rejoice in your toil. So rejoice in your children. Look them in the eyes and give thanks. You will not even remember the work of all this planting when the harvest of joy overwhelms