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Well I finally finished one of the (many) books that I began reading several months ago.  When I opened this book, I was set to like it.  Having grown up hearing about Dr. Dobson and even reading some of his other materials, I figured this book would be great.  Here are my thoughts on this updated book:

One of the topics that Dr. Dobson discusses is the controversial topic of spanking, which he wholeheartedly supports.   He explaned the need for spanking (disrespect and outright rebellion), and he made it VERY clear that spanking is NOT child abuse.  He explained the appropriate times and places to spank, being wise in how you go about it.  I agreed with Dobson’s view and plan on using this tool in the future for my kids.

Dr. Dobson also set up a clear explanation of procedures (and departure from them) and rules (and disobeying/disrespect).  For instance, a procedure might be that your kid put their clothes in the basket when he takes them off at night.  If he doesn’t, you remind him that he is supposed to do it.  This is a procedure.  If, however, after you’ve asked him to do this, he ignores what you say (or mouths back, etc), this is disrespect and disobedience.  The latter should be punished with, say, spanking, but the former should not be punished-a simple reminder will do.  He also adds rewards to the procedures, which helps kids follow them.  (You get $1 if you keep your room clean, etc.) This idea of rules vs. procedures is actually something I’ve used in my classroom and it works very well.

This pretty much concluded the first half of the book, and at this point, it went downhill.

Dr. Dobson then began to write about other topics other than discipline: achievement, learning disabilities, drugs, and purity, among others.  While he had some relevant and interesting things to say about these topics, I felt they weren’t appropriate for this book.  It disappointed me that he strayed off topic so much!  I understand that these issues could play into how you discipline, but I felt his book would have been more effective had he stayed to the point.  Had he offered more techniques and examples of appropriate parent/child discipline, I would have thought it a great read and worth my time.  As it was, I finished the book disappointed.  Overall, I’d only recommend someone to read the first half.

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So lately I’ve been thinking alot about potential and discipline.  I’ve been faced a bit with the reality that I often perform well below my potential, due mainly to the fact that I lack motivation and discipline.  It’s a little humbling to take an honest look at yourself and realize that you are lazy and have been okay with it on a regular basis.  But I don’t think that I’m okay with it anymore.  I really admire the kinds of people who finish projects that they start, even if they get a little bored or tired in the middle.  I think it’s really honorable to do something you don’t like to do, because you know the benefits outweigh the “pain” you might suffer in the meantime.

I’ve noticed that Proverbs really talks alot about discipline.  Reading Proverbs is actually the first step I’m taking to be a little more responsible with what I’ve been given.  I know that I can spend time in God’s word everyday; it just takes some effort.  And so far it’s been good.  So goal #1 is in progress: Spend time daily in God’s word.  Potential doesn’t matter unless you make use of it.