Instructing a Child's Heart: Part 4 - Reading List

Instructing a Child's Heart: Part 4

Monday, March 11, 2013

I don't know about you, but after Shepherding a Child's Heart, I was full to the desire to be a parent who really digs deep and works on effecting my child's heart, and not just be a strict disciplinary  But I wasn't full of enough steps to do that (trust me I also know that a 1-2-3 action plan doesn't always work on every kid, but as a mom I needed some kind of frame work to get started in).

And luckily Tedd & Margy Tripp wrote a follow up to the Shepherding a Child's Heart - Instructing a Child's Heart.  And trust me, if you are feeling a little lost after the first book, this book helps give you a little more as far as practical steps to take as you start to really dig into your child's heart and shepherd them.

As the Tripps say, "You need more than tips and ideas; you need solid Biblical truth." (59) And that is the basis of this book as well. Pulling from scripture to provide the foundation as you build up your family one step at a time. 

The bulk of the information in this book is on formative instruction, that it is the basis that allows for deep communication and sharing so that you can truly start to dig deep into your child's heart and effect it. "Formative instruction gives children principles and absolutes by which to live -hooks to hang life on." (96)  And our kids will receive this instruction from their surroundings, so we, as parents, need to make sure we are part of this instruction. 

One of the examples of how as a parent I need to provide such instruction that I personally found extremely helpful was: 
"You want your children to develop the habit of prayer during times of temptation. Imagine a four-year-old who becomes angry with siblings over every offense, real or imagined. You want to accomplish more that adjudication the conflict of the day. You want him to turn to God in Prayer when he is tempted to be angry... If your child can learn to come to you to lead him to the throne of grace to find mercy and help in his time of need (Heb 4:16), he will learn how to go there himself in the years to come."  (306)
For me this is a reminder to pull my kids into prayer with me when I am tempted as well as when they are being tempted.

Of course to know when they are being tempted I have to be aware of the areas in their lives that little tiny idols are being formed. Such things are what will cause temptation to take over them. This is part of my job as a mom, to really pay attention to them and know what things in life are becoming idols. Some examples of idols that were mentioned at different times in the book include video games, sports, toys, TV shows, certain clothes, need to win all trophies, etc. When such things become idols for my kids I need to help encourage them to remove such things from the center of their life, and help them work through the false desire to need it, not just want it.

The key here is to encourage them. "Your role is to bring your child encouragement." (920)

Before continuing in this series, take a moment to really evaluate your kids and start to recognize their strengths, places you can encourage them to continue to strive towards. Then also recognize their weaknesses, and ways to encourage continued effort towards some of them. Finally keep an eye out for possible idols so that you might be able to walk along side them as you approach the Savior who will help to remove such a false idol and change their heart.

"Your parenting task to bring truth. God changes hearts. Behavior follows the heart. Even when you must constrain behavior, you must have a bigger objective in view-- to bring God's truth to your children. Since God's Word addresses the child's heart, you must also be focused on the heart." (974)  (Tweet that)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on really evaluating your children as individuals who need encouraged as they learn to walk this path of life. How do you come along side your kids and gently nudge them towards praying to their God?

New to the Shepherding a Child's Heart series? Take a moment and catch up

Shepherding intro
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 5

Shepherding wrap up

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