This week, much to the chagrin of my children, I discovered the age old punishment of writing sentences. It is not a novel concept, but it sure is working as a new addition to my disciplinary repertoire.
A couple of years ago a friend gave me a copy of Ginger Plowman's "Wise Words for Moms." I didn't feel like my children were old enough for it to be really effective at the time, so it has been on top of my refrigerator. This week I rediscovered the chart and have put it to use.
The chart begins with a list of several behaviors that bear addressing in children (lying, arguing, disobedience, etc.) The subsequent columns include heart probing questions to ask (to get your children thinking about why they may have behaved that way) and then verses for reproof (what they need to 'put off') and verses for encouragement (what they should 'put on' in its place).
I love the idea of the discipline not just about what NOT to do, but what truth to cling to instead.
I used it twice today to assign sentences (verses) for repeat offenses (hitting and outright defiance). I have been assigning the encouraging verse for the offense, to help the offender hide that Word in their heart for the next time they are tempted. It has been great perspective for me to take them back to the Word, not solely to convict them, but to encourage them as well.
So far so good--from my standpoint, anyway. (The little sentence writers might disagree.) They are learning Scripture, practicing their handwriting in the month before school resumes and they don't enjoy the 'time out' at the kitchen table writing while the rest of us are doing something more exciting.
For all of the newfangled (did I just use that word?) systems and ideas, sometimes you just cannot beat the old tried and true methods.
If anyone has a favorite verse or passage to assign, I would love to hear it. (I am thinking of developing my own family chart using some of Ginger's and some of my own...would love suggestions.)