Thursday, October 20, 2011

Habit Training Within a Relational Framework

Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. ~James 1:19-20

Do you ever lose sight of the person that your child is in the process of training them? Day in, day out, do this, don't do that... it's challenging to rule your spirit when instructing a child. Yet, it is within the fruit of the spirit that we are to influence our children to righteousness.

Dr. Carroll Smith posted on Habits over at the Childlight blog this week and I couldn't help but wonder if I hadn't fallen prey to legalism in my many attempts to train obedience.
...it seems to me, that habits which are not governed by the Spirit become legalism and are destructive and not life sustaining or life giving. As they are governed by the Fruit of the Spirit, they cause us to grow in a virtuous life.

...Virtue for the sake of virtue or the sake of glory or only for human flourishing does not fit within a framework of what it means to bear the image of God. Human flourishing happens within a relational framework. This framework includes relationships and habits that are built around the warmth of community and relationship not the isolation and coldness of legalism.

Being patient, loving, gentle doesn't mean not giving consequences or not disciplining your child. We must train them absolutely. It's your spirit that's at issue. Is it angry, controlling, legalistic?
...the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
We must tread ever so carefully, we are training and educating *persons*.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. ~Ephesians 4:1-3


  1. Oooooo....this is convicting! Thanks for the thoughts and quotes!

    PS - I checked out the Holly Pierlot book from my library. It was neat and had a lot of good thoughts in it. I confess I didn't read ALL of it since she talks a lot about her faith, but it was good! Thanks!

  2. Yes, Naomi. This is spot on. I keep finding that when I begin to figure a thing out (in line with God's Word), suddenly I notice that Charlotte has thought of that thing also!(Well, way before me and in such a more eloquent way!) It always feels right when our method of choice lines right up with God's Spirit. But I suppose this is because she was lead by His Spirit in all she wrote.

  3. seriously. this is something I've had to be re-evaluating for some time now. it is SO important to train our children (ourselves!)... but not by holding a set of standards over them/us... it's by living Spirit-filled, remembering the grace that has been shown us!

    I've had to totally revamp. I found myself very legalistic in this area, I still do at times... frustrated when they just don't get it. and what about grace? that's what I have to remember. God sees me as a person, treats me as a person. He sees them as persons, treats them as persons. Why would I let my frustration get in the way of what He's doing in them? In me? Urgh.

    Instead when we work together with our children as persons forgiven and loved by God, empowered by him to do right... after all, isn't that what the body of Christ does?

    I'm with you :)
    amy in peru

  4. Hi i found your blog about a year ago but never have responded yet to a blog! I absolutly am inspired by your blogs! i have two kids 2 1/2yrs and 1yr. boy and girl and live in orange county too! I'm thinking of home schooling and love getting a real life view of what it's like and inspiration! Anyways, i wante dto say thank you for writing this. it has been an ee opener to how i raise my kids and to not loose sight of who they are and what God is making them into be. thank you! :)

  5. they call me mommy - yes, it was full of 'her story' which I thought could be helpful to someone who was in that stage of life, but if you'd already figured those things out, or didn't struggle with the same issues, then it seemed a lot of reading to get to the practical scheduling you picked up the book for. Glad you read it. I've been working on meal planning and it's really helped eliminate one of my daily struggles. Another thing that's been helping is getting in the habit or system of filling the dishwasher after dinner and running it at night, then having the kids empty it in the morning so I can fill it as we go throughout the day. The sink has never been cleaner. Such a minor thing, but it's really helped and the kids get it done in less than 5 minutes. Good luck!
    Pam - that is exactly what I've found also - the basis of her philosophy is her great recognition - that He is in all things, and it continues to amaze me how much it is weaved throughout her writings.
    Amy - After an incident a couple weeks ago, my husband told me I was teaching my kids the 'doctrine of works' - ugh! Obey and you shall have life! Disobey and you shall be cast out into darkness. Talk about a sobering moment. This Proverb stood out to me: 16:32 "Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city." You know what I thought was a great example of how we can be with our children is how the monk treated that boy in "Door in the Wall". He helped him, prayed with him, took care of his needs, and yet it was never about him and his expectations. He lead and he served.
    But when we fail, let's not forget the answer Paul received when he asked for deliverance - "My grace is sufficient for you."
    Kim - you are so welcome! What a blessing to have so much time to read and learn and decide on the best path for you and your little ones. Feel free to join us at one of our monthly meetings if you're local. You can get the details in the 'CMHOC' group in the Charlotte Mason Education site (see the link on the left top side of the site).

  6. "It's your spirit that's at issue. Is it angry, controlling, legalistic?" - ouch
    This blog was a timely one for me. I very much enjoy following you ladies, you inspire me to someday start a CM group of my own.