Discipline is helping children to grow, not controlling behavior. It is a long process that needs to be mostly positive in nature, but firm and loving. So, relationship building is incredibly important. Managing a classroom—keeping it under control, is something we can do the first time we ever walk into a group of children, and maintaining a well-run classroom achieves another goal—training our children in righteousness:
When we insist that a child raise his/her hand to ask a question, we are teaching politeness. When we do not allow a child to use crude language—we are teaching respect for others. When we encourage children to handle the Bible carefully—we are teaching them to respect the written Word of God. When there is a calm, controlled atmosphere, children are learning self-control. These are worthy goals; they are positive, not negative. The following suggestions for handling misbehavior can be classified as corrective discipline.
While it is a worthy goal to desire attentive, well-behaved children in our classrooms, it’s not the ultimate goal, which is training hearts toward the Savior. God is the highest authority, and He has a created order to the universe. God has set parents and leaders over children to teach the fear the LORD. Children are to joyfully submit to God by submitting to their leaders. As leaders, we are to joyfully submit to God and lead our children with kindness and strength. May we say with the psalmist…
Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack!...those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.—Psalm 34:9-11
(This blog post was compiled by Lori Myers, based on notes by Connie Oman from a seminar Connie delivered during the 2009 CDG National Conference.)
Read Heart-Focused Classroom Management - Part 1