So I just finished reading a book called Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. This book, written by a pastor and counselor, is for parents looking for a biblically based method of training and disciplining your children in a way that points them to Jesus. He focuses on getting straight to your children's' hearts and teaching them to obey and respect you, which in turn teaches them to obey and respect God.
I have been really struggling with how to discipline Eli effectively, yet without yelling or losing my mind. I don't want him to only obey me because he fears me (although there should be a healthy level fear and respect), but rather I want him to obey me because he knows this is pleasing to the Lord. And WOW, it has been really hard. I wouldn't say patience is one of my strong points either, so it is a daily battle to keep my temper in check. I found so much freedom in the following passage of this book....
"If you allow unholy anger to muddy the correction process, you are wrong. You need to ask for forgiveness. Your right to discipline your child is tied to what God has called you to do, not to your own agenda. Unholy anger-anger over the fact that you are not getting what you want from your child-will muddy the waters of discipline. Anger that your child is not doing what you want frames discipline as a problem between parent and child, not as a problem between the child and God. It is God who is not being obeyed when you are disobeyed. It is God who is not being honored when you are not honored. The issue is not an interpersonal contest, it is rather your insistence that your child obey God, because obeying God is good and right."
That just hit me right in the face. I can't take Eli's disobedience personally! He was born a sinner in need of a Savior, just as we all were. How can I expect him to act holy and have a heart for others on his own? It is my duty and great responsibility to teach him what the heart of Jesus is, in the hopes that he will realize his grave need of a Savior as he understands that he cannot do good things without him.
I will say that his book may be a bit controversial for some parents because it is very pro-spanking. He even goes so far to say that if you are not spanking your child (in a loving, Godly manner or course) than you are not being obedient to what God has said. I have been on the fence about spanking, but after reading this, tend to agree that it is a very biblical way to discipline. You may feel otherwise, and that is OK.
I have a renewed sense of confidence in my role as the one God has entrusted to raise his children. There is no greater calling than to raise a warrior for the Kingdom of God.