Monday, February 14, 2011

The Heart #3: Questions, questions, questions

I've been sharing about our hearts. In post 1 I said that everything we say and do flows out of our hearts. In Post 2 I shared my tendency to want an easier way than the time it takes with my kids to help them see their hearts.

Some of you have (naturally) asked what process we go through with our children to help them see their sin. We have nothing new or unique to us, just what we appreciated as solid biblical truth expounded on by Paul Tripp in his dvd conference "Getting to the Heart of Parenting" and by his brother, Ted Tripp in his book, Shepherding a Child's Heart (discipline process on page 150). Both are amazing and I highly recommend getting them and going through them as a couple.

Our main purpose in these questions is to help Jimmy (and Caleb one day) to see that everything he does flows out from his heart... and that is where the lasting change in him will come from as well. Always from the heart outward...
"... for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."- Luke 6:45

The 5 Questions- always in THIS order to show how behavior comes from the heart outward):
1) What was going on?
2) What were you thinking (or feeling) as it happened?
3) What did you do in response?
4) Why Did you do it? What did you hope would happen because of it?
5) What was the result?
We are so alike it's scary!
These are pre-correction. It's what we walk through right as something happened before we respond in any way. One example: 
Jimmy finds out we are having spinach at dinner and cries (you laugh, but it happens.) and then yells at me and throws his head down on the couch grumbling and complaining.

Me: "What happened?"

Jimmy: "You promised me I could pick where we eat out and now you lied and I have to eat spinach!"
*note- this is his version. I don't correct it ever. It's just a way for me to see what he is thinking. Even if I'm confident I never promised eating out and see nothing wrong with spinach, I don't even address that here. Right now is about his heart.*

Me: "How did you feel when you heard me saying I'm making spinach?"

Jimmy: "Mad. Sad."
*note- sometimes he says he doesn't know. then I usually ask differently, like "What were you thinking when you heard.." or I give a handful of options: "Were you happy? sad? mad? didn't care?"
This is not about the emotion, but just to show him that his response came from his heart, not the situation. *

Me: "So what did you do when you were mad?"

Jimmy: "I was unkind."
*note- He almost always downplays his sin. He'll use excuses or make it less than it was. I'm not concerned with that right now because I'm just trying to let him see his heart and need. There is a time for showing that, but not here.*

Me: "What did you hope would happen when you were unkind?"

Jimmy: "You'd know I was mad and you'd let me pick where we eat."
*note- Sometimes he's more vague, but usually it is something he hoped would happen and he sees that he tried to make it happen by this action of disobedience.*

Me: "And what did happen?"

Jimmy: "Now I'm in trouble and have to be corrected."

This is where I usually share a passage we've studied together over the years: Galatians 6:7-8
 "for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."
We talk about how if you don't plant at all or plant a bad seed, you can't expect a good crop. If you work hard and use good seed, you expect to see a good crop in time. It's the same with us, if we are loving and kind and obey, we enjoy time with Mommy, but when we are unkind and mean, we will be corrected. Screaming, grumbling, and fighting did not get a chance to eat out. Now we are still eating spinach with dinner, and we also are going to be corrected for being unkind....

He is learning through this that his actions came from his heart outward. He's learning that God cares about his heart and Mommy does too. I'll share in the next post how our next step of correction comes in to show that sin hurts and leads to death BUT there is hope and forgiveness in Jesus...

[read the rest of this series here: Post #4- When to Correct,# 5- Our correction process, #6- Addressing bad character]


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing! This was encouraging to me--It was helpful for me to see how you ask questions before responding in any way to the disobedience. I needed that reminder, as Matt and I seek to care for Addy's heart. :-)

I am thankful for you Ginny and am blessed to read of the ways that God is strengthening you and Andy to care for your boys' hearts.

--Lisa R.

Ginny said...

thanks Lisa! Love you so much! And I'm so thankful God gave you your sweet Addy and is guiding you as her parents. I just prayed and will continue that He'll guide You and His love will be so evident as you pursue her heart in love in HIS strength alone. Love you, friend!