Don't Make Me Count to Three - by Plowman, Ginger.
Wapwallopen, PA: Shepherd Press, 2003. 155 pp.
All mothers experience times when handling discipline issues appropriately seems to slide out of sight, leaving a struggling mom in “survival mode”. At times like this, I find myself looking for practical helps on how to “undo” what I may have unintentionally created. Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman will help moms avoid these dilemmas by focusing on disciplining children biblically.
The author begins by explaining the difference between disciplining outward behavior and dealing with a child’s heart. She challenges parents not only to understand their children, but also to train children to understand their own hearts and make wise decisions based on God’s Word. Plowman believes the aim of biblical discipline must be “to get them [children] to think right and to be motivated out of a love of virtue rather than a fear of punishment.” (26).
This fundamental task of parenting can be intimidating. Plowman answers question like, “How do I probe my child’s heart?” and “What kind of questions do I ask?” to help parents see how this can be practiced in daily life. Midway through the book she includes a chart designed to help the parent identify the child’s sinful behavior, ask heart probing questions, and explain verses that address the behavior.
In the remainder of the book Plowman addresses the rod and reproof of discipline. She emphasizes the need for children to go beyond knowing what they have done wrong to learning how to have biblical responses instead of sinful actions. This is done using God’s Word, along with giving children many opportunities to practice right responses. In addition to discussing the proper use and misuse of the rod, the last few chapters evaluate other methods of discipline such as bribing, threatening, reasoning from a biblical perspective. The appendices offer advice on how to lead your child to Christ, along with Scripture to pray for your child.
Don’t Make Me Count to Three is easy to understand and concise. It is an excellent resource for busy mothers because it succinctly summarizes what many other excellent parenting books say and is full of practical applications. While admitting she is not a perfect parent, Plowman brings God’s high calling of parenthood into focus, and challenges readers to persevere in training their little ones in righteousness. It is a book worth adding to any collection of parenting resources.
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp is another highly recommended parenting resource.