Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Shepherding a Child's Heart"

Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp is an incredible book on how to raise your child in a biblical manner. God has obviously called Kyle and I to be parents, and the Bible is specific as to this job's responsibilities. Before reading this book Kyle and I knew that Jesus Christ had to be the focus of our home. After all, he's the center of our relationship, the center of our personal lives, every where you look in our home Bible verses stand as reminders to Jesus Christ and His love for us as Christians. Once we found out we were pregnant, we turned to the Bible for guidance, Proverbs being an excellent place to start. Tedd Tripp's book gives you more to think about in terms of today's worldly expectations, today's views on authority and how to exercise authority in your home, making the Gospel the central focus, discipline and correction, and much more.

Here are some highlights:
  • I like how Tripp lays out authority. God is our authority as parents and He has specific expectations for us on how He wants us to raise our children knowing Him. We are, therefore, our child's authority figure because that's what God called us to be (read Ephesians 6:4 as one of many examples), not because we're mean, but because we love our children and want what's best for them.
  • Which leads me into another part I liked, discipline = love. Read Proverbs 3:12, GOD disciplines those He loves. (and Proverbs 13:24, Revelation 3:19) I think back to my own life when I dealt with the consequences of my ungodly behavior and walked away a wiser individual. The same principle applies here. "Discipline is an expression of love." (Tripp, pg 36)
  • Excellent quote: "Your correction must be tied to the principles and absolutes of the Word of God. The issues of discipline are issues of character development and honoring God. It is God's non-negotiable standard that fuels correction and discipline." (Tripp, pg.37)
  • I also liked how Tripp discusses the difference between anger and discipline. In fact, I'll just quote him, "Unholy human anger may teach your children to fear you. They may even behave better, but it will not bring about biblical righteousness. Any change in behavior that is produced by such anger is not going to move your children toward God. It moves them away from God." I was thinking back to my nephews the week I had them, and wondered how many times I responded in unholy anger -in the ONE WEEK I HAD THEM! I wish I could go back to that week after reading this book.
  • On our walk the other day Kyle and I were discussing how to raise our child in biblical standards and he said that he would like to read Proverbs with them. Inwardly I was thinking, that's a tad thick and I hope they understand it, but it is an excellent place to start. Tripp confirmed what Kyle had said earlier. Together with his children, everyday before going to school, they would read a portion of Proverbs together. Tripp said, "The child who accepts these truths will learn to accept correction." (pg.35) It is never to early or late to start teaching biblical wisdom. GOD opens their hearts and eyes to His word, we simply need to feed it to them every day!
Tripp asks this amazing question that I'm going to end with, "The question you must ask is this: Are the values of your home based on human tradition and the basic principles of this world or on Christ?"

If you can't honestly say, on Christ, you need to change your own focus! After all, we are in this world for such a short time. God calls this life a vapor, a mist, so doesn't it make sense to prepare them, and help them hope for, our life with Jesus Christ?
  1. Read John, the gospel written by John the Baptist for Gentiles (us), will help you know and understand that Jesus Christ is God. Once you know Jesus and what he came to this earth to do (to serve), helping your children understand that will be much easier.
  2. Read Proverbs, Solomon asked God for wisdom and God said that because he asked for this and not riches or long life, he was going to be wise and there would be none like him ever again. Proverbs was written for his own son so he could live a Godly life.
  3. Read this book! You will be different as a parent.
  4. Make sure you kids know about God.
    • As soon as he/she can talk can they answer questions like: Who created you? Who created the earth? Who created your dog, brother, sister? Who loves you more than anyone else? Why did Jesus die on the cross?
    • Do they know the stories of Abraham? Noah? Joseph? etc.
    • Do they understand they are born sinners? Humans are not perfect and we sin daily which means we need correction daily.
    • Do your children understand biblical correction and discipline, that what they did was wrong and why? or do they understand when mommy and daddy are angry? BIG difference.
Kyle and I are so excited to bring this little girl into the world, and we know it's a HUGE responsibility. Right now we are studying John together and I'm studying it with my sisters. We heard a sermon over Proverbs on Sunday and began understanding how vital that book is going to be in our journey as parents. This book, Shepherding a Child's Heart, has confirmed and changed much of my understanding of being a parent. I do not want her to get here and we panic, "Uh, God? What now?" That's going to happen with breast feeding, and changing diapers, and getting up all hours of the night, and dealing with a screaming baby, and, and, and.... Our lives are never going to be the same. But I want to be prepared biblically for the day she arrives. I do not want any questions on where is our focus? What are our expectations? How will we discipline? How will we correct? Thankfully, that's all laid out for us in God's word. This book is also an excellent guide! I know that my own desire has to be on knowing God and continuing to grow in my relationship with God through God's word, my own prayer life, and discipleship with women who know more than I do, so I can pass those values on to her. She is becoming my disciple and in order for her to understand God and His grace, she must live in an environment where HE is the focus all - the - time. That is our goal. Pray for us!

"The question you must ask is this: Are the values of your home based on human tradition and the basic principles of this world or on Christ?" (Tripp, pg 12)

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