I WANT TO BE A BETTER PARENT!!! This is so often our hearts cry – yet, we don’t even know how to go about it. Be more patient, more kind, give more choices, give less choices…what am I supposed to do!!?? If you’ve said that (and what parent hasn’t??) I really believe Shepherding a Child’s Heart will give us the God-centered answers we are looking for.
Join our online book club today! We are going to be studying the book, written by Tedd Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart (SaCH). Today, I wanted to go over the introduction to the book…this is the most interesting and challenging intro I have ever read – it was so good, I had to treat it as an actual chapter of the book 🙂 I hope you enjoy some of the blurbs from the introduction of SaCH.
Authority – do you really know how to use it & not abuse it?
Children were raised in a society in the previous generation that valued authoritarian rule (i.e. absolute authority figures were – bosses, teachers, and fathers). The church used the method of “You listen to me, kid, or I’ll cuff you”. It seemed to work because the children were externally submissive. This method fails us now because our culture no longer responds to authority as it did a generation ago…but, we have overlooked its unbiblical methods and goals….The church mirrors the problems of culture because we weren’t doing biblical parenting a generation ago. God’s ways have not proved inadequate; they are simply untried.
A biblical vision for the parenting task is multifaceted. It involves being a kind authority, shepherding your children to understand themselves in God’s world, and keeping the gospel in clear view so your children can internalize the good news and someday live in mutuality with you as people under God.
Wow, that was a mouthful! But, take the time to really study the above paragraph – I love that he emphasizes kindness in conjunction with authority. I know that many of us have not had biblical authority modeled to us – instead we have had either authority abused on one hand or totally neglected on the other. Let’s see what he has to say about the kind of authority that Jesus modeled to us…
The purpose for your authority in the lives of your children is not to hold them under your power, but to empower them to be self-controlled people living freely under the authority of God.
Jesus is an example of this. The One who commands you, the One who possesses all authority, came as a servant. He is a ruler who serves; he is also a servant who rules. His authority is kind – authority that is exercised on behalf of his subjects (John 13). As a parent, you must exercise authority. You must require obedience of your children because they are called by God to obey and honor you…children generally do not resist authority that is truly kind and selfless.
So good! Now, that is biblical, Christ-like authority. Our challenge is to use our authority for the training and molding of our children, not as a way to “lord our power over them”. Now, on to what the author has to say about Shepherding…
If authority best describes the parent’s relationship to the child, the best description of the activity of the parent to the child is shepherding. He shepherds the child to understand not just the “what” of the child’s actions, but also the “why”. You must shepherd his thoughts, helping him to learn discernment and wisdom.
Your children desperately need to understand not only the external “what” they did wrong, but also the internal “why” they did it. Your children must understand why they sin but also they must be empowered with grace. They must be able to face the worst in themselves – sin, badness, and weakness – and still find hope, because grace is powerful.
What a wonderful insight – to get beyond the “performance driven parenting” – keep them acting good enough so I am not embarrassed to take them into public. But, to begin to delve into the heart issues and take those extra steps to point them to their Savior. As a parent, the next thing I have been so guilty of, Tedd straightens me out…
The “keepable standard” – Parents often give their children a “keepable standard”. The Bible teaches us to do good to those who mistreat you. But, when children are bullied, parents will tell them to ignore the bully or worse, to hit the bully back. This non-biblical counsel drives children away from the cross. It doesn’t take grace from God to ignore the oppressor…or to stand up for your rights…When you fail to hold out God’s standard, you rob your children of the mercy of the gospel.
What what a challenging introduction! I hope and pray this time spent together this fall, will be life-giving to our families & encouraging to us as parents. My prayer is that we finally understand the biblical framework of parenting & become equipped to parent our children with love, grace, mercy & understanding . Trust God with your children…he knows better than we do what is good for a child’s heart.
If you are interested in participating, you are invited to purchase a book at the Kid’s Town Check-In tent this Sunday. (Everyone is invited to participate – you do not need to be a member of CLC to join with us!) And, of course, we love comments and feedback. The conversation is what is going to make this a great study…so keep the comments coming!
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