WOW! This summer FLEW by!! We officially began our school year today (I say "officially" since we have been learning all summer long!).
Overall, the summer was a wonderful one. Since my husband is a college professor and has summers "off" (at least from the rigorous teaching schedule), we were able to spend much of our summer together doing things as a family--bike rides, walks, swimming, visiting the Zoo, playing baseball, traveling to different towns in our area, and much more. We planted a garden, which we are now harvesting. We have beans, pumpkins, cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, onions, basil, mint, and 24 tomato plants (we make our own sauce!) which are giving us tomatoes GALORE! Our neighbor brings us a few dozen corn on the cob every two or three days, so I've been busy freezing that also.
Over the summer, I have been slowly reading through a book called Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman. What a blessed reminder it has been to be consistent in my working with my children--consistent in teaching them not just about school but about GOD, consistent in reminding them why they should or shouldn't do or say something, and especially consistent in teaching them how to do or say something the correct way (God's way, using scripture).
One of the greatest challenges I received from what I've read so far is to approach each discipline issue as an issue of the heart and not an issue of behavior. Ginger says, "The heart is the control center of life. Behavior is simply what alerts you to your child's need for correction....If you can reach the heart, the behavior will take care of itself." (p.33) If I face each instance as a heart issue, I am better focused to teach my child what God expects of them and why, thereby teaching them principles that they can apply to other situations. I then direct my child in the correct behavior and/or speech, and have him/her practice the correct method immediately. This produces not only reproof (what the child did wrong) but instruction in righteousness (how to do it the right way).
I am looking forward to finishing the book (hopefully soon!), and I have been working to apply what I've learned so far. To be consistent in biblical discipline is my goal as a parent. I want to use discipline as a tool to help my children learn to be more Christlike, not just to be better behaved in public!
While I am thankful for the more relaxed pace of the summer, I am looking forward to the structure that school brings and to what God has in store for us in the coming year. Lord willing, we will all learn to turn our hearts toward Him!