Monday, June 6, 2011


We have been talking with Coop a lot about his heart. What good is it to have a child who obeys when he does not have a heart for God? When he doesn't understand that his behavior is much more than doing what mommy and daddy say? This has been the topic of discussion at our house a lot lately.

The last thing we want to do is raise our children in a legalistic home where it's all about do's and don'ts and following rules. If it's not an intrinsic desire for them to do what is right, then they will all but rebel the first chance they get. Yikes! Sooooo...we have been talking about the fruit of the Spirit A LOT! Fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) is what a believer in Christ bears. It is the result of the Holy Spirit's work inside each of us. It's a way that we can begin dialogue with Cooper about the things that GOD desires for him to display. There have been some really sweet moments where he is starting to "get it."

With all that said, we have been thinking through some different discipline ideas for Coop. As a parent, discipline is always evolving as children are always changing! Oh how I wish I could just figure it out once! Can I get an AMEN?? We have been doing a rewards system with Coop for behavior at school, church, being a kind friend, etc. with rocks and a treasure box that I can expound on later if anyone is interested..... But the more I started thinking about it, the more I realized that we desire for Coop to do what is right (be kind to his friends, gentle with his brother, patient when he's bored (we hear about this one a lot..."I'm borrreeeddd"), to love those God puts in his path, etc.) because that what the Lord requires of him. Thank goodness for a sovereign GOD dwelling in us that is completing the good work He started! I can't imagine being kind or loving on my own...what a train wreck! And how much more for a 5 year old to have self-control without the Spirit.....impossible!

So we decided to make a little box with all the fruit of the Spirit written on the side and each time we saw Cooper acting kind towards someone, being gentle, having joy, being under control (rare, but it happens;), or loving someone well, we would write it down on a little piece of paper with the day and a description of what happened. It was so fun to open up the box at the end of the week and to share them as a family and to express all the wonderful character qualities that we saw in Coop. He was so proud and I love that it is an intrinsic reward rather than a little toy from the dollar spot at Target that he plays with for a day (although there is a time and place for those too;).

I love you Cooper Rumley. You are a world changer and our prayer is that you will let God use you to do just that, be an ambassador for Christ. I pray you will love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. I am so proud to be your Mommy and I look forward to all that the Lord has in store for your life!

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven....For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the Truth." 3 John 1:4

If you have any wonderful discipline ideas, I would love to hear about them, as I'm sure everyone else would too:) Feel free to share them in the comments or post about them on your blog (just leave me your blog address so I can take notes;)


  1. Thank you so much for this. It is a great idea.

  2. Love this idea... I am just wondering if I can implement it and stick with it with five children...

  3. Natasha, I only have one baby (7 months) but what occurred to me when reading your comment is that if your children are old enough, rather than having you recognize and add the acts to the box, challenge them to find those fruits of the spirit in each other, record them, and put them in each other's boxes. That way the whole responsibility doesn't just fall on you, and they will also be learning to be an encouragement to each other. Just a thought!

  4. I love your Fruit of the Spirit box !
    WOW many days as an adult I could sure use my own box . . .

  5. Jen, I've been reading your blog for quite some time and this post was exactly what I needed to read tonight. We've been dealing with listening with our 4 year old and we want him to listen because its the right thing to do not because its a "rule." We may "steal" your FRUIT idea!

  6. That is just a great idea... I'll have to remember it for when we have children.

  7. That is a great idea! I have a friend who has 3 young children (all under 8 yrs). She doesn't give them an "allowance" for household chores b/c she believes that is something that do to contribute to the family. So, she has a point-system for books they read and for behavior. She is working on them being polite and learning manners. Every time they are polite or when someone asks them a question and they answer it in a polite way, they get points. They can also lose points for not saying "yes ma'am" or "no, thank you". At the end of the week, they get money for earning points. If they go above and beyond (i.e. someone asks "how are you today?"...their regular answer would be, "I'm fine, thank you."...But the above and beyond answer would be, "I'm fine, thank you. And, how are you today?"), they might get extra points for it. Their goal is to teach them that they have to earn money and not just get it b/c they are in the family. I know this isn't exactly about discipline, but you talking about the fruit of the Spirit just made me think of it. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Jen... I just read a wonderful book entitled "Give Them Grace".... It addresses the very issues you are talking about..... how to raise children in light of the gospel of grace.... not works.... It is a great book. I can't remember right now who it was by... I loaned it out to a friend. I think her name is Elyse Fitzpatrick.

  9. Here is the site for the book.

  10. What a great idea! Very needed in this house, too! Within the past year our house has been filled with 4-5 kids on a daily basis (that, and my working 2 other jobs!)...I have noticed my discipline and quality time with Sophie taking somewhat of a back seat.
    I love how this incorporates both the encouragement of good works and quality time in one:) Thanks for sharing!

  11. Hey Jen,
    What a great post! This is more than discipline this is discipleship. I love hearing how others disciple their kids, thanks for sharing. I see the teacher in you coming out!:)
    Leslie Rice