Shepherding a Child's Heart: Part 3

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

So far we've looked at the responsibility we have as parents to discipline and disciple our kids as well as God's plan for parents to do this through communication and the rod, as discussed by Tedd Tripp in Shepherding a Child's Heart.

And I'll admit that Tedd Tripp's conviction over the need to include spankings was at some points a little hard to handle, as I personally, find it incredible unfair to spank.

Later on Tripp says "The when of spanking is so simple that parents miss it. If you child has not obeyed, he needs to be spanked. If he has failed to respond to your direction, he has moved out of the circle of safety." (149) How does that work? Seriously?


Of course this being said, I also feel that way as I have seen how this behavior has been corrupted in our world, and taken to the extremes.  The bulk of the discussion over discipline our kids in this book focused on having a strong connection to our kids, and have a great ability to communicate opening with them. The idea that if we have this ability to really communicate, using words, the need for physical punishment diminishes.

The biggest issue I had with this book was the tone that came up often that as a parent who can't seem to figure out how to have such a great line of communication  with my children I was failing. There just were not enough how-to's on this type of communication, just lots of fancy phrases that remind me that this is my job: raise my child to behave well and respect authority.

One of the question at the end of the chapters did however catch my attention, and kept me interested in the over all point. "Would you be willing to sit down and analyze the following for your children: training objectives, list of your child's strengths and weaknesses, short-term and long-term goals, and strategies for parenting?" (40)  I just figured that if I could work on this, I might be able to build that ability to communicate better, and lessen the desire to punish.

Another line that hit home with me : "We don't discipline for childishness even when it is terribly inconvenient." (105)  This seems obvious right? But it's so hard after a day of cleaning up the same mess that comes of a preschooler learning how the world works to remember the difference of malicious behavior and just curious exploration - no?  But again, once my ability to communicate with my child improves maybe the desire to react will lessen as we can discuss the situation better.

Also, Tripp says, "The most important lesson for the child to learn in this period (young childhood - 2-6) is that HE IS AN INDIVIDUAL UNDER AUTHORITY." (133) And my first thought was, and how in the world do I teach that?  And to be honest I was at a loss on an answer to this question for the rest of the book, luckily I had already made up my mind to read this whole book, and then read Instructing a Child's Heart as soon as I finished - trust me you need to read them together.

Granted there were little lines that helped me to know that Tedd Tripp did have some idea on how to teach this behavior of submission, like: "Submission necessarily means doing what you do not wish to do." (145) And I do believe that an important lesson, as a mom, that I need to teach my kids is that part of life includes doing things you don't want to do, and it's not about always getting what you want when you want it.



Overall this book reminded me that parenting is extremely difficult. It is a crazy balancing act. The biggest point, that when we are lost and don't understand, as Christians we need to look to our God for instruction, which is the background point in the book, is true. And if communication and the rod are the instructions I'm getting from God, then I need to figure out how that formula works for me, and for each of my kids.

Before we move on to Instructing a Child's Heart, please ask any questions you have. Or share your thoughts of the book. I love to hear them!  Are you teaching your kids to be individuals under authority? Do you follow the 'you don't always get to do what you want when you want' formula at your home? Does that lead to meltdowns?





Missed part of the series?


Shepherding intro
Part 1
Part 2
Part 4
Part 5

Shepherding wrap up





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