I borrowed this book from the library 6 weeks ago when a newly met friend recommended something else written by Plowman (that's coming next after I talk about this book). I had to renew it after 3 weeks because I hadn't got around to reading it yet. When I did finally crack it open, I felt discouraged in Chapter 1 when she laid the guilt trip on me ("There's no higher calling than being a mother..."). As I read, I discovered she only had 2 children, and I was like, "Hmph...peanuts. What does SHE have to teach ME? She should walk a day in MY shoes!" So I put the book down and moved on to other things (my reading list was very long). Since it is due back at the library today, and I didn't want to renew AGAIN, I picked it up yesterday to give it "one more shot," "just in case."
I couldn't read it fast enough. Seriously. It seemed like I would read two pages, then have to put the book down and apply exactly what I had just read to the real-life situation yelling/crying right at my feet. The good news is, it is very fast/easy to read. I certainly had many distractions (I am not exaggerating--I could barely read 2 pages before needing to use something I had literally just read), and still was able to finish it basically since just starting yesterday.
This book makes an excellent companion to Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. This book fills in the gaps and makes Shepherding a Child's Heart a little more applicable by offering more real life scenarios, as well as more sample dialogues. Don't get me wrong, Shepherding a Child's Heart is a very complete, excellent parenting book. But "Don't Make Me Count to Three!" is easier/faster to read, and can be applied immediately. I felt like many different (wonderful) parenting books I have read came together as I read "Don't Make Me Count to Three!" It was a refreshing reminder of things I have read in other books. It was also a great encouragement as it offered solutions and methods in a way that I can apply immediately. It certainly calmed down this mother's heart and changed MY attitudes, setting me back on the right path. We all need that from time to time. It seems like I need to be "reset" every Monday or so. :)
One of the most significant themes I found in this book that impacted me was the importance in training our children the right way to go. Not just pointing out their sin and applying discipline, but actually walking them through the appropriate behavior. It is giving them a way out--a means of escape. Plowman writes, "I am teaching them to 'put off' corrupt and deceitful desires and to 'put on' the righteousness and holiness of God." Chapter 5 ends with a memorable illustration of this. Today we have done many "practice" sessions, not without a few giggles. Which is good.
I also purchased Wise Words for Moms by Ginger Plowman from amazon.com. It is a pamphlet that makes the perfect companion to "Don't Make Me Count to Three!" and to Shepherding a Child's Heart. This is the original resource recommended by a newly met friend, which I looked up on amazon...one thing led to another and I checked out two books by Ginger Plowman. The other book I checked out was Heaven at Home: Establishing and Enjoying a Peaceful Home. I didn't get to read it before I had to return it (someone else placed a hold on it, so I couldn't renew). Now that I have read and loved the first book, I will request Heaven at Home again.
Wise Words for Moms is about the size of a regular calendar. Each page is a chart (4 full pages) for easy/quick reference. I kind of wish it were longer, but it is a great place to start and the information is quick and easy to reference. A sample entry includes this information (and a sample page from the chart is included on pages 94-95 of "Don't Make Me Count to Three!":
Child's Behavior: Aggravating, stirring up strife, picking on othersMy chart has gotten lots of use the past two days! The hardest part about this is I wish I knew more scripture by heart. I wish I didn't have to use a chart...I wish it were in my head. But it's not. :( Hopefully with time and practice it will get there!
Heart Probing Question: 1. Are you purposing in your heart to promote peace, or are you stirring up trouble? 2. How can you show love and pursue peace in this situation?
Reproof ("Put Off"): Strife. One of the seven things God hates is one who stirs up trouble among his brothers. Proverbs 6:19
Encouragement ("Put On"): Peace Making. God gives joy to those who promote peace. 1 Peter 3:11, Proverbs 12:20
Additional Verses: 1 Peter 3:11, Proverbs 10:12, Proverbs 12:20