I hope that you’ve found our synopsis of Tedd Tripp’s book “Shepherding A Child’s Heart” both thought provoking and useful. There is certainly a lot of useful information to be gleaned from the book. The following is my “cheat sheet” of things covered in the book:
4 Reasons our culture has lost its way in terms of parenting
- Many people in our day and age have children but don’t really want them. Children are viewed as a liability in a culture that has increasingly convinced people that the paramount goal in life should be their own personal fulfillment.
- The idea of quality time has replaced the idea of quantity time.
- It is no longer socially acceptable for Dad to be the authority in the home.
- Children see their parents refusing to submit to authority which results in their unwillingness to accept a submissive role in life.
7 Observations on Parental Authority
- You must not be embarrassed to be your child’s authority.
- Our authority as parents comes from being an agent of God.
- We should never direct our children for our own convenience, but rather on behalf of God for their good.
- The purpose of our authority is not to hold our kids under our power.
- Our goal is to empower our children to be self-controlled individuals living under God’s authority.
- As parents, we must require obedience from our children because God’s word calls for obedience and the honoring of parents.
- Based on Mr. Tripp’s experience, children don’t generally resist authority when that authority is kind and selfless as described above.
5 Observations on Shepherding Our Children
- As a shepherd, our goal is to help our children understand themselves as a creation of God and their role as being made “for God.”
- The job of a parent is to lead children on the path of discovery.
- Our job is to shepherd our children’s thoughts to help them learn discernment and wisdom.
- We do this with open and honest communication.
- The Heart is the Focus of Shepherding (“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” [Proverbs 4:23])
Tripp introduces this chapter as follows:
“I remember thinking that if keeping my children in line depended on me outwitting them, I might fail. I am now persuaded that raising teenagers is not a matter of out-maneuvering them. It is much more exciting and satisfying than that.”
Instead, raising teenagers is about internalizing the gospel. This is the process of them embracing the Christian faith you have been teaching them as their own. As a parent, our wish for our teenagers is that they develop their own identities as children of God. The internalization of the gospel in teenagers requires the Holy Spirit in the same way that it does for all believers young and old.
Tripp reminds us that there is no promise to be found in the Bible that our kids will come to faith in Jesus Christ. Our hope is not in a promise that our kids will come to faith but in the gospel itself which turns sinners to Christ. Our role as parents during this vital time is to seek to influence them in the internalization of the gospel.
As children become teens, they become more acutely aware of their own sin. They are also faced with the realization that not everyone believes the same things they have been taught. As parents, Tripp says our task “is to shepherd and nurture his interaction with the gospel.”Read More
Tripp explains that the benchmarks for this period are “the onset of puberty and the time when the child leaves home to establish a home of his own.” If one words sums up this time in a child’s life, it is insecurity. The child is no longer a child yet is still not an adult. They feel vulnerable and worry about their appearance. They are anxious about their understanding of life and “unstable in the world of ideas.” They are apprehensive about their personality. Against this backdrop of insecurity, they are trying to establish their own individual and independent identity. While kids at this stage of development require more guidance than ever before, they are resistant to any attempt to limit them.
Many times these years are marked by rebellion which can be just an attempt to establish an individual identity. Other times, though, rebellion could be caused by deeper issues. In some kids, rebellion is just the expression of something that has been their the whole time. Tripp does point out though that it is a fallacy to think that a kid becomes a rebel because of the company he keeps. Rather, he explains, kids who are already rebellious tend to find other rebels to hang out with.Read More
In this chapter, Tripp look at addressing the “why” of our children’s behavior rather than just the “when” or the “what.” We must help our kids “to look at the ‘what’ of their behavior from the ‘why’ perspective.” Unless we dig in to the heart in this way, we only end up addressing the external aspects of behavior rather than the heart attitude.
Tripp defines character as “living consistently with who God is and who I am.” He gives several examples of viewing character traits based on this framework. Tripp makes the following observations regarding character development:
- Parents should not instill the idea in their kids that if they try hard enough, or are good enough, or really strive for it, that they can be what God has called him to be. None of us can – absent the grace and mercy of God.
- It is impossible to try to build good character qualities in our kids without reference to God.
- Teaching character is a process, not an event. It requires plenty of patient teaching and instruction.
- When you give your kids a keepable standard it trains them to rely on themselves and turns them away from the need for the Cross of Christ.
- Proverbs is a great book for teaching kids about character.
- Many parents are not able to correctly assess the character issue behind behaviors. Many times that is because we view our children’s behavior problems very naively. We do not want to admit the character flaw to ourselves and downplay the behavior.
Tripp defines childhood as the middle period of a child’s life from ages five to twelve. During this period of their life, a child is developing more of a sense of independence regarding their choices and their personality. With the beginning of school and other activities, the children find themselves spending more and more time away from the direct supervision of their parents. They are confronted with situations their parents do not witness or control.
For this section of the book, Tripp assumes that you have, as a parent, already taught your child the lessons of stage one. Your child sees himself as a creature made by God who lives for God and understands what it means to submit to authority. That said, the big issue for this second stage of a child’s development during the Childhood years is character. Tripp offers the following partial list of charater traits we would like to see our kids develop:
- Moral Purity
In this installment of our synopsis of Tedd Tripp’s book “Shepherding A Child’s Heart,” we will look at Chapter 15 – Infancy to Childhood: Training Procedures.” In the early years, discipline is weighted towards the rod because young children generally do not give much weight to conversation. In this chapter, Mr. Tripp examines the details of spanking including several question raised about spanking.
The “When” of Spanking
Tripp summarizes, “When you have given a direction that has been heard and is within his capacity to understand, and he has not obeyed without challenge, without excuse or without delay, he needs a spanking. If you fail to spank, you fail to take God’s Word seriously.”
As parents, we must be consistent. We cannot ignore disobedience. Failure to be consistent results from parents taking the easy way out. It is far more difficult to consistently make decisions based on sound biblical guidance and what is best for our kids. Tripp also explains that we must not warn and we must not ask kids if they want to be spanked. If we do, we train them to wait for the warning before obeying.