I have been reading Ted Tripp’s Shepherding a Child’s Heart. This is the second edition, 2005 version. The original was published in 1995. Right off the bat, Tripp talks about what he has seen and experienced in the years since the first edition…things that only make him feel more strongly that a biblical approach to child rearing is totally necessary for families today.
He points out: “God is concerned with the heart—the well-springs of life. Parents tend to focus on the externals of behavior rather than the internal overflow of the heart, we tend to worry more about the “what” of behavior than the “why.” (xi)
His theme is that when we miss the why…and focus on what, we miss the opportunity to teach our children to understand their own hearts…to see that “straying behavior develops a straying heart.” (xi)
From what I see so far, this is not an easy book. Tripp asks parents to delve deep into their Christian beliefs and act on biblical principles whether that is comfortable or not.
I really hope that Tripp’s book will offer the practical helps that are hinted at in the introduction.
One thing that I see very early in the book, (chapter 1) is that I will need to truly establish my thoughts on authority in order to listen to the author. I have no issue with honoring Biblical precepts overall, but authority has always been a kind of grey area for me.
Ask my Mom, I was born a bit rebellious. I still, deep down, think often I know better than some authorities…and so, you can see, I have some issues with this. Tripp mentions authority from the get go in chapter one. He asks us to consider how in the 60’s culture, people broke away from established authority roles. How this continues in out day. I like how he discusses that the past wasn’t perfect either, and authority can be used incorrectly. He points us to Jesus as an authority figure. A figure that shepherds.
I like how up front Tripp is with his answers to questions. For example, he wrote this “People frequently ask if I expected my children to become believers. I usually reply that the gospel is powerful and attractive. It uniquely meets the needs of fallen humanity. Therefore, I expected that God’s Word would be the power of God to salvation for my children. But that expectation was based on the power of the gospel and its suitability to human need, not on a correct formula for producing children who believe.”(xxi)
From this quote I realize this book follows a path…maybe a process whereby parents can show their children the how and why of the gospel, and how it functions in society…even in family.
Because parenting is not about ruling, or hiding…but raising and shepherding.
I will talk about chapter 1 later as this is so long! Want to join in this book club and chat about the book?