Archive for September, 2005

Some Thoughts on Chapter 1 of Positive Discipline, by Jane Nelsen

Sunday, September 25th, 2005


Some Thoughts on Chapter 1: The Positive Approach

The book Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen presents the author’s synthesis of the philosophy of Alfred Adler and Rudolph Dreikurs. This is called the Adlerian approach. The goal of this approach is to teach children self-discipline, responsibility, and cooperation. The author testifies that, in her own family of seven children, the implementation of the Adlerian approach has “increased mutual respect, cooperation, enjoyment, and love.”(pg. xxiv)

In Chapter one, entitled “The Positive Approach”, the author asks the reader: “Why don’t today’s children develop the same kind of responsibility and motivation that seemed more prevalent in youth many years ago?”(pg.8)
The author theorizes that there are two main reasons for this problem.

  1. “The first major change is that adults no longer give children an example or model of submission and obedience. Adults forget that they no longer act the way they used to in the good old days.”(pg.9)
  2. “Another major change is that in today’s society children have fewer opportunities to learn responsibility and motivation. We no longer ‘need’ children as important contributors to economic survival. Instead, children are given too much without any effort or investment on their part.”(pg.9)

The purpose of this paper is not to explain the Adlerian approach, but to comment, from a Christian perspective, on the two societal problems noted by Jane Nelson. It is interesting that the problems which the author notes are seen as being detrimental to the welfare of children not only in the philosophy of Adler and Dreikurs, but more fundamentally, in the teachings of the Bible.
The author states that, “When Mom quit modeling submissiveness, children stopped being submissive.”(pg.9) In I Peter 3:1 it is stated, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives,” and in verse 6, “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” (King James Version) In Ephesians 5:22-24, a similar statement is made: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” This “modeling of submission” proceeds, in the Christian view, from a willingness to order our human relationships according to God’s directions for us. It is not surprising to the Christian that real benefits should accrue from doing things God’s way rather than his own way.

It is important also to use the definition for “submission” which the Bible uses. Ephesians 5:21 states that, “Submitting yourselves one to another,” is to be done, “in the fear of God.” Any “submission” must take into account what the entire Bible, God’s Word, teaches on this subject. The wife submits herself to one who is commanded to love her whole-heartedly, unselfishly, and sacrificially (Ephesians 5:25-29). In I Peter 3:8,9 both husbands and wives are instructed, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.”

A summary of godly family relationships which incorporates the concept of “submission” is found in Colossians 3:18-21: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” According to these Bible texts, submission does not indicate inferiority, but a willingness to interact with others according to one’s God-given role. True submission is not opposed to mutual respect, nor is godly exercise of authority opposed to mutual respect. Loving relationships are required of wives, husbands, and children.

The second problem noted by Jane Nelsen is that children in today’s society have fewer opportunities to learn responsibility and motivation. Her generalized solution is, “We need to provide opportunities for children to experience responsibility in direct relationship to the privileges they enjoy.”(pg.10) This principle is taught in II Thessalonians 3:8, 10: “Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you . . .For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” Christian parents, aware of this principle, can provide age-appropriate opportunities for their children to work in the home. It is unscriptural to treat children as if they are little princes and princesses who may demand service from their parents. If parents “sow” this improper behavior with their children, they will “reap” demanding, unthankful, lazy children: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) The parents have the responsibility to provide the character-training which their child needs in order to succeed in life and in spiritual matters. The Biblical directive to parents is: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6)

In the first chapter of Positive Discipline, the two problems noted by author Jane Nelsen:

  1. Adults no longer give children a model of submission, and
  2. Children have fewer opportunities to learn responsibility and motivation,

have been shown to be problems which the Bible addresses. It will be interesting to note, as I continue reading this book, if the author’s solutions to these problems are also in accord with Biblical principles.

First Journal Entry for Paraeducator I Class

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

Dear Cindy (Cindy is the instructor of the class),

From the introductory comments which you made yesterday evening, I have formed the opinion that this class will be both interesting and challenging. Thank you for making the time in your obviously busy life to teach this class. What a benefit to would-be paraeducators!

Since I do not yet have the course texts, I will begin with some insights into my own background in teaching and tutoring.

First of all, I love to learn! I did not attend college after high school. Nevertheless, I enjoy reading on a variety of subjects, such as health, nutrition, history and religious ideologies. I also enjoy reading young adult and children’s fiction. I have enjoyed becoming computer literate. My children have often been my instructors in this area!

Next, I enjoy facilitating my children’s learning. I have homeschooled my children at various times. My oldest son, who is 22 years old is the only child who was homeschooled exclusively until he began his college career at the age of 16 through the Running Start program. (From 1999 through 2002, some of the children attended Ebenezer Christian School.)

My philosophy of homeschooling is this:

  • establish the child’s tools for learning (strong reading and math skills)
  • use textbooks only as necessary to reinforce these basic skills
  • use good literature and “real” books as much as possible
  • read aloud to the children
  • take the children to interesting places
  • encourage individual interests and abilities (Currently, my children are taking lessons in such things as figure skating, violin, viola, cello, and bagpipes. We have done swimming, soccer and homeschool P.E. in the past.)
  • expect excellent work
  • give increasing responsibility for one’s own education to the child as he/she proves capable. Currently, my 13-year old daughter ordered the curriculum which she and her younger brother and sister are using this year. She determined how much work would need to be done each day, writes in the planners, and grades the work. I am available for question answering and assistance of any kind, but she takes great pleasure in her competency.
  • utilize community resources. As a family, we love Running Start! Five of our children have participated in this program. We do full-time college in lieu of highschool courses. By the age of 15 or 16, the children welcomed the challenge of college work.

Third, while some of the children attended Ebenezer Christian School, I did recess duty once a week, and also assisted the first grade teacher in helping the little ones learn to read. I continued volunteering at the school for two years after the children attended there.

Fourth, I learned about the role of the special education teacher and paraeducator when one of our daughters became very ill when she was ten years old. Schizophrenia caused her much suffering, caused her to lose much of what she already knew, and impaired her gross and fine motor skills. Gradually, as our daughter responded to antipsychotic medication, I noticed that she was able to learn again. I applied to have her evaluated at Nooksack Valley Middle School by Ian L. and Tari M. I sat in on the evaluations and found them enlightening. Specific learning weaknesses and strengths were identified, and an Individualized Education Plan was drawn up by Tari. Our daughter started at the middle school towards the end of her 7th grade year. Initially, she remained in the Resource Room for all instruction, had a shortened school day, and could barely read. Tari and I discovered that Debra was a great auditory learner. We phased her into regular classes. If the textbook was read to Debra (about three or four times over!) she could take the regular test (untimed) and do well. Debra ended up attending NVMS full-time for 8th grade, and won several awards, including one for some artwork (fine motor skills were improving!). I have been inspired by Tari and the others who helped Debra so much!

Debra is currently a sophomore at NVHS. We have had some trouble communicating her IEP requirements to all instructors. I sympathize with the busy staff at the high school. I have been told that there has been a 20% increase in the number of students with IEP’s this year, with no corresponding staff increase. As a family, we take turns reading aloud to Debra, since decoding is still irksome for her. The portion of Debra’s IEP which states that she needs difficult material read to her, does not happen at school. My goal, therefore, is to become certified as a paraprofessional and help at the high school.

I have taken the ParaPro Assessment prep. class taught by Tari M., but have not yet made arrangements to take the test. I was impressed by the skills standard expected of parapros. As I mentioned previously, the class you are presenting sounds excellent as well. Hopefully, skillful and caring parapros entering the work force will continue to help young people like Debra.

I Corinthians 13:5

Tuesday, September 20th, 2005

. . . Love does not insist on its own way . . . RSV

Another verse somewhat related to the above verse is I Corinthians 9:19KJV:

For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

Again, in I Corinthians 10:24RSV it is stated:

Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

And again, in I Corinthians 10:33KJV it is stated:

Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary, states:

Our own humour and appetite must not determine our practice, but the honour of God and the good and edificaton of the church. Henry, Matthew. “Commentary on 1 Corinthians 10.” Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible. Blue Letter Bible. 01 Mar 1996. 20 Sep 2005.

In applying I Corinthians 5 to my life as a wife and mother, in my interactions with my husband and children, I have paraphrased it to myself as: Say, “Yes,” whenever possible.

When my husband wants to rearrange a room, it is loving to try to say, “OK! Let’s try that,” rather than immediately coming up with all the reasons I would rather have the room remain comfortably the same. (I don’t like my surroundings to change unless there is some HUGE reason they should be redone. 🙂 ) It is better to encourage my husband’s ideas whenever that is possible, rather than saying him, “Nay”. Also, if the suggested change does not work out, I need to be gracious about that as well. As Matthew Henry says, I must not be ruled by my own “humour”–which I take to mean my own preferences–but must consider first of all what will honor God and rightly please others.

When the children were little, they often had little requests which, to an adult, might have seemed inconsequential. However, I believed that to be truly loving to them, to nurture their spirits, I needed to honor these requests, and respond with a “Yes!” whenever that was possible. It is good to teach the little ones to help with the household work, to expect them to obey immediately, to instruct them academically, but it is also good and it is truly loving to say such things as:

  • Yes, let’s go to the park for a picnic today.
  • Yes, we’ll buy that fabric and start sewing that dress as soon as possible.
  • Yes, you have finished all your chores; you may invite your friend over to play.
  • Yes, that sounds delicious; I’ll make that for dinner.
  • Yes, you may make blanket tents in the living room; clean it up afterwards.
  • Yes, let’s take a break now and read that book together.

I Corinthians 13 (RSV)

Monday, September 19th, 2005
  • If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
  • And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
  • If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
  • Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful;
  • it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
  • it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
  • Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
  • Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
  • For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;
  • but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
  • When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
  • For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.
  • So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

This passage of Scripture has been so helpful to me throughout the time that I have been married, and my husband and I have been raising a family. This morning I am especially thinking of the portion which states “Love is patient and kind.” Whenever I have been tempted to be irritable with my family, I have considered this verse. If at times I have chosen to be irritable, impatient, or unkind, at that point I have not loved my family. The Scripture defines the concept of love for me, so that I can know whether I am or am not being loving. I think also of I John 3:18,

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.(KJV)

It is not enough to say, “I love you,” to a family member, but I must show through my actions, my patience and kindness, that I love them in reality.

The Greek word for love used in I Corinthians 13 is agape. Hogg and Vine in Notes on Thessalonians, page 105, state

Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings, it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered. Love seeks the welfare of all, Rom. 15:2, and works no ill to any, 13:8-10; love seeks opportunity to do good to ‘all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith,’ Gal. 6:10. See further I Cor. 13 and Col. 3:12-14.

So then, agape love is something that I choose, by God’s grace, to show to my family. It does not depend upon how I am feeling today, or whether or not my family are pleasing me at that precise moment in time. For Christ’s sake, by God’s grace, I choose to love my family. This is not some lofty attainment, but is simply what I owe them.

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:8- 10 (KJV)

Thank you, Philip!

Sunday, September 18th, 2005

Philip did a lot of fancy keyboarding to post those photos! I will have to ask him to show me how to do it all over again next time I want to include photos. Muchas gracias, Philip!

Family Wedding Photo

Sunday, September 18th, 2005

I very much enjoyed Laura and Darren’s wedding on Sept. 10, 2005. May they be a blessing to one another. We love you, Laura and Darren!

Family Wedding Photo

From left to right: Michael, Debra, Philip behind Seth, Joyce, Laura, Rick, Rebecca, Sarah, Lydia, and Kayla

Here is a photo of the happy bride with her mom and dad

Grampa and Gramma Taron at the reception

Darren and Laura cutting their cake

Aunt Carol with Laura

“Let me catch that bouquet!”

Kayla and Camilla

Hannah and Philip

My Children’s Blogs

Sunday, September 18th, 2005

Dear Children, I am finally starting to write on the blog that Philip set up for me because I have so enjoyed reading your blogs. 🙂 Thank you for posting your news, your thoughts on various subjects, and your favorite photos. I will seek to emulate your examples, in posting things which are interesting and edifying. With love from Mom.

Sermon Notes

Sunday, September 18th, 2005

Today we heard a sermon preached by Pastor Greg Price on the text

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

The two main points made in the sermon were:

  1. A prudent man wisely flees from evil.
  2. A simple man carelessly falls into evil.

Under point one, Pastor Price stated that the prudent man is wise in applying knowledge to practical situations in life. He considers the long-term effects of his decision. He is not an existentialist, living only in the present. He does not make hasty, rash decisions.

Specifically, the prudent man considers the revealed Word of God.

O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
~Psalm 119:97-104

The prudent man actually doesright now what he knows to be the will of God, as stated in John 7:17 “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” After doing God’s revealed will, he is then in a position to pray that God would give him wisdom concerning decisions to be made.

The prudent man also listens to the godly counsel of his elders, parents, and other mature Christian friends. Two verses cited were Proverbs 19:20, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end,” and Proverbs 23:9, “Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.” He does not poll everyone for the majority opinion, but selects a few mature counselors.

The prudent man prays diligently for wisdom, as he is instructed so to do in James 1:5-7, “If any of you lack widsom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” As we trust Him, He will grant us wisdom, in His time.

The prudent man realizes that “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Gal. 6:7. He sows in righteousness, not corruption, realizing that the sad consequences of foolish decisions will catch up with one. He considers the welfare of others in the decisions he makes, and doesn’t sacrifice his testimony for Christ by choosing to flirt with sin. He abstains from even the appearance of evil, as stated in I Thess. 5:22.

As an example of a prudent man whose history is given to us in the Bible, Pastor Price cited Joseph, who fled from the evil advances of his master’s wife. When accosted by the captain of the guard’s wife, Joseph said, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Gen.39:9. Like Joseph, the prudent man should be prepared ahead of time, through communion with the Lord, knowing that such temptations will come. Such a man realizes that he is not the slave of sin. He is not bound to obey temptations, since Christ has overcome the power of sin in the life of a Christian. Pastor Price then quoted Romans 6:12-14:

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

The prudent man, the true Christian, can say, “No!” to sin. Beyond that, he is wise in not even placing himself in places or situations where he is likely to be tempted.

Another Biblical example of prudence given by Pastor Price was Hannah, the mother of Samuel. She had an adversary who provoked her sorely, but Hannah did not lash out at her cruel rival, but committed her cause to God. She serves as an example of one who did not succumb to ungodly anger, bitterness, resentment, or a revengeful spirit. Rather, she used the means of grace, such as prayer to God and meditation upon His Word, to avoid such sinful attitudes and behavior. The prudent person, likewise, seeks the Lord constantly, consistently, and also hates and despises not only sin, but the temptations to sin as well.

In the second main point of the sermon, the simple man was described. Pastor Price examined the meaning of the word “simple” in the text. This word indicates open, spacious and wide, as in “broad-minded” or “open-minded”. Such a person is gullible, and entertains whatever idea or practice presents itself to him/her. Are Christians then, “narrow-minded”? Certainly Christians should be informed about world events, and they should be no more narrow than what God’s Word teaches. However, Christians know:

  1. There is only oneway to God, through the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. The gate is wide, and the way is broad, that leads to destruction, and there are many going that way (paraphrase of Mt. 7:13,14)

A Christian is not “open-minded” to all music, fashions, sexual practices, philosophies, and religions, knowing that God’s Word bears on all these things. He receives instruction from God’s Word. He also learns from the mistakes of others.

Samson was given as an example of a simple man. He is noted as one who had faith (in Hebrews 11:32), but he was immoral. He was not wise when it came to women.

We, rather, should receive instruction and live.