Friday, January 31, 2014

God's Initial Discipline Plan

Discipline is a constant topic of discussion in our home.  We've tried everything from happy face charts, tickets, time-outs, to prize boxes.  This last week I was discussing with a friend the concept of the earn-back.  A child misbehaves so they lose a privilege, but if they don't have a chance to earn it back, what motive do they have to change their behavior?  But if they can always earn it back, then what motive is there for compliance in the first place?  It's sort of a vicious cycle.  I was pondering this concept and read about the garden of Eden when I saw a little more clearly the discipline system God set up for His first children.  The parts that most struck me was first, the double consequences, one immediate and one delayed.  This means that no matter what, they lose something.  The second, and most importantly, the idea that the earn-back is incredibly more challenging than the initial expectations.  So the incentive to comply initially is because the earn-back is even harder, but even if they make a mistake, there is still hope.  That was precisely the answer I was looking for.  Here are a few things I discovered in God's discipline plan: 

The Set Up: 
  • Heavenly Father created a place that is fun and beautiful for his children.  
  • He allowed Adam to be a part of the process, (naming the animals), perhaps to help him feel a sense of responsibility.
  • He gave them responsibilities to care for the garden and animals (chores).
  • He laid out the expectations for living there.
  • He clearly explained the rules and the consequences.
  • He left access to something forbidden.  (It's ok to have things out kids can't touch or need to ask for first...learn boundaries?)
  • He let them make their own choices (demonstrated trust in them) then followed through with the consequences (so they could trust Him).  

Discipline System:
  • Double consequences.  One immediate and one delayed.  (immediate time out and then lose out on something in the future)
  • Pretty drastic consequences (not just losing one toy, but losing rights to all the toys)
  • Questioned them, not accused them.  Allowed them to make their own confession so they felt sorrow for their actions instead of anger for the punishment.
  • Enacted the consequence with love and sorrow, no anger. 
  • Prepared them (explained what they would need to do, helped them make clothes)
  • No easy earn-back (blocked the tree of life, had to work hard to return to His presence by proving expected behavior and making and keeping promises)
  • All consequences came to pass, they just weren't permanent, so He was true to His word, yet there was still always hope.