2020-02-26 to 28 Pictures: Charleston, South Carolina

One of the few upsides of having to cancel our Spring Break trip last March at the onset of the pandemic is that we are "stuck" with a rather large voucher from one of those discount airlines. Last autumn, Tricia and I spent a weekend in Savannah, Georgia and had a...

A John 3:16 Craft for Kids

John 3:16 is one of the most well known and reassuring verses in the Bible. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 (NIV) The following is a little craft I threw...

2020-03-01 Pictures: Lyndsey’s College Signing Day

This afternoon Lyndsey made it official, signing her letter of intent to play college basketball for the Hiram College Terriers starting next year. While she made the decision and committed to Hiram before Christmas, she has been looking forward to this day since her...

2020-02-13 Pictures: Lyndsey’s 18th Birthday

I am little behind on posting photos. These are some of my favorites from a couple of weekends ago when we got a chance to celebrate Lyndsey's 18th birthday. It's hard to believe that my little girl is officially an adult. It was nice to have the family all back...


Introduction I love working with kids, and I love teaching them hard concepts in ways they can understand. To that end, for years I have been working on a dictionary of theological terms for kids and teens. In sharing those definitions, there seemed no better place to...

If You Want It Done Right

In all likelihood, you know how the phrase ends: If you want it done right, DO IT YOURSELF! This is a bit of a mantra for me, and frankly, something that I struggle with daily both in leadership and in my Christian walk.  In theory, this is easy to accept. ...

What Does God Hate?

This is the little and humble post that started it all. I happened to be reading through my Bible, and this passage impacted me so much that I posted a little blurb about it on Facebook. That was July 28, 2008, and I've been writing and sharing ever since. (Maybe...

Ch. 2 – Your Child’s Development: Shaping Influences – Shepherding A Child’s Heart (A Synopsis)

Shepherding A Child's HeartIn our continued synopsis of Tedd Tripp’s book “Shepherding A Child’s Heart,” we are now up to Chapter 2 – “Your Child’s Development: Shaping Influences.”

This chapter deals with the shaping influences in a child’s life.  Mr. Tripp defines shaping influences as,

“those events and circumstances in a child’s developmental years that prove to be catalysts for making him the person he is.”

Mr. Tripp explains that the person our child becomes is ultimately the product of two things:

1. His Life Experiences; and

2. How the child interacts with those experiences

Our children’s interactions with their shaping influences is dealt with in Chapter 3 of the book, and we will deal with that in the next installment.  Mr. Tripp identifies six shaping influences in our children’s lives.  He points out that most of these are “both within and outside parental control:”

1. Structure of Family Life

How is the family set up?  Is it traditional?  How many parents in the home?  How many generations?  How many kids in the family?  What is their birth order?  All of these impact our view of life when we get older.

2. Family Values

Mr. Tripp explains that every family has certain boundaries regardless of whether those boundaries are spoken or not.  However, the core point is whether or not your values are: “based on human tradition and the basic principals of this world or on Christ?”

3. Family Roles

Are there specific roles which each family member plays?  Some fathers are removed and distant while others are involved in every aspect of family life.  In some families the father pays the bills, in others the mother.  Children also tend to have specific roles in the family.

4. Family Conflict Resolution

Do the members of the family know how to discuss their problems?  Are problems resolved or ignored?  How does the Bible factor into conflict resolution?  Tripp concludes: “A child is trained to be a fool or be prudent, wise man by the shaping influences of the home.” Ouch!

5. Family Response to Failure

Children are influenced by how their parents deal with the children’s failures.  Are failures mocked and made fun of, or do the parents find an opportunity for praise even in the midst of failure?

6. Family History

Things like births, deaths, moving, money, health and more are all part of our family history, and they can have a profound impact on how our children grow up.

Tripp then explains two mistakes which are frequently made when it comes to dealing with shaping influences:

  1. Seeing shaping influences as deterministic; and
  2. Denying the impact of shaping influences.

Tripp concludes the chapter with a transition to Chapter 3.  He explains, “Children are never passive receivers of shaping.  Rather, they are active responders…the child is never determined solely by the shaping influences of life…Your child’s heart determines how he responds to your parenting.”  Next time we will look at two possible responses to shaping influences.

Personal Observation

No matter what mistakes we have made in the past with our children, and no matter what circumstances we may be reaping because of those mistakes, the important thing to remember is that it is never too late change those shaping influences which are under our control.  Our God is, after all, a God of second chances!

<<LAST TIME: Chapter 1 – Getting to the Heart of Behavior

Chapter 3 – Your Child’s Development: Godward Orientation: NEXT TIME>>

Return to Index