Character: Discipline

66022_1_ftc_dpA couple of weeks ago, my ladies Bible study continued with Session 2: Discipline in the book:

Character: Reclaiming Six Endangered Qualities, InterActions Series
By Bill Hybels / Zondervan

You can read my post on the previous session here: Session 1: Courage

The key passage for Session 2: Discipline is:

Proverbs 1:1-7 “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young— let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Because it was used a couple of times in the key verses, I looked up the definition of prudence. It is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason, shrewdness in the management of affairs, skill and good judgement in the use of resources, and caution or circumspection as to danger or risk. I think that knowing this definition helps with understanding of the verses.

This session focuses on four areas of personal discipline: Spiritual, Physical, Financial, and Relational. In each section, it has us reflect on how disciplined we think we are in these areas.

The Essence of Discipline… Delayed Gratification

The author describes delayed gratification as “the commitment to schedule the pain of life first so we can really experience the pleasures of life that follow.” So in our areas of personal discipline, delayed gratification might look like the following:

Spiritual: Waking up a little earlier or going to bed a little later in order to commit some time to spend reading the Bible, praying, and having quiet time with God.

Physical: Committing to exercise on a regular basis and making healthy food choices.

Financial: Creating a savings plan in order to slowly set aside money for a big purchase, vacation, and/or retirement.

Relational: Make an effort to have heart-to-heart talks with a friend or family member you desire to have an authentic relationship with.

The Practice of Discipline… Advanced Decision-Making

Once deciding that delayed gratification is essential to discipline, we must take the next step. This involves making decisions ahead of time about how we will practice discipline in our lives. If we have a plan set firmly in our mind, then when temptation comes to ignore the plan, we will be more likely to stick to the plan. Some plans might look like the following:

Spiritual: Committing to be involved with a local Bible study group and making time to do the homework before each meeting.

Physical: Scheduling time several times a week to go to the gym and/or workout at home.

Financial: Creating a monthly budget and sticking to it.

Relational: Make time to regularly call, write, and/or meet a friend or family member.

The Rewards of Discipline

When we are able to commit to delayed gratification and advanced decision-making in order to be disciplined in our daily lives, we start to see the benefits of being disciplined. Rewards could be as follows:

Spiritual: A growing and mature Christian life and a close relationship with God.

Physical: A healthy body, increased energy, and increased self-worth.

Financial: Being free from debt and not having to live paycheck to paycheck.

Relational: Having a flourishing marriage, family life, and close, significant friendships.

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I have had enough experience in my life to know the downfalls of not being disciplined in each of these areas. I think that I am pretty disciplined in my planning and organization. However, putting my plans into action is a different story. In all of the areas we discussed, I have some work to do. Being disciplined in each of these areas requires constant attention, perseverance, and prayer!

How can you put discipline into practice this week?

Our Reward Chart!

Over the past six months I have tried different reward systems to see what works for our family. Most of them did not work. I think that I was over-doing it. Finally, I came up with a new one based on a few things that I either heard or read about. We have using this system for almost 2 months and the girls seem to understand this concept better than the previous systems.

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How It Works:

Rule Chart with Reward Cards

  • There are 3 rules: 1. Love each other 2. Obey immediately & 3. Tell the truth. Most everything fits into these categories. Not sharing, fighting, not being respectful etc. under rule 1. Whining, temper tantrums, complaining, ect. under rule 2.
  • The reward cards are pictures of ice cream, pizza, cookies, book, & surprise. When they earn their reward they would get to choose which reward they want and it would be your responsibility to provide their choice as soon as possible. I bought several small new toys to use as the surprise gifts for my girls.

The Star Chart

  • Every day each child starts with 5 stars. If they disobey the rules they get 1 star taken away. (You have to be careful to make sure you give warnings and not take them away too quickly. You also have to determine when an offense requires an additional or alternate discipline instead of just a star removal.)
  • Before taking away a star, go over the rules and have your child repeat the rule that they broke. This will help them start to understand why they are being disciplined.

The Sticker Chart

  • At the end of the day if the child still has any of their stars left then they get a character sticker (1 per day) on the sticker chart. If they do not have any stars then they do not get a character sticker.
  • After they earn a pre-determined amount of character stickers they get to choose a reward card.
  • The pre-determined amount of character stickers may be different for each child depending on their age. There are 12 spaces available but I recommend starting small. The amount can change as they get used to the chart and as they get older.
  • For a younger child, 1 1/2 to 2 years, a character sticker each day may be all the reward they need until they are a bit older. My 2 year old needs the rewards because she sees her 4 year old sister getting them. You can adapt the system based on your child’s needs and understanding of the charts.

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Those of you who have followed my blog for any period of time, know that I have been working on my anger issues. This reward system has helped me with controlling my anger. How? When my girls do something wrong, having these charts gives me an alternative option to yelling. If an offense requires that a star is to be removed, I have to walk them to where the charts are hanging. That gives me a few seconds to take deep breaths and calm myself down before going over the rules and taking their star away. Obviously, I have to choose NOT to yell and I often make the wrong choice. But the more that we use the system, the more I am recognizing that I can control my anger if I choose to.

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Do you want to try my reward system?

I sell them over at Heart Treasures Boutique!

You can customize the charts with your child’s name. You can choose from 5 different chart colors and from 8 different characters: Toy Story, Cars, Princess, Princess & the Frog, Tinker Bell, Star Wars, Mickey & Friends, and Sesame Street! All charts & stickers are laminated. Everything sticks together using velcro. Mounting supplies for charts are not included. The size of each chart is 8 1/2 x 11.

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Train up a child in the way he should go:

and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22.6 (KJV)