Instructing a Child's Heart: Part 5 - Reading List

Instructing a Child's Heart: Part 5

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

As discussed in the previous part of this series, the follow up book to Tedd and Margy Tripp's Book Shepherding a Child's Heart, Instructing a Child's Heart, focuses mostly on formative instruction.

I wanted to share a couple more examples of this instruction before closing the series with some of the main points I pulled out of the books in and how I'm incorporating them to work for each of my children.

This book is a great tool for some practical outlines for parents to use as they take steps toward truly walking along side their kids.

One example that really stood out to me was the concept of teaching our kids to fear God. Most specifically what that really means (in order to teach something we have to understand it somewhat ourselves, as parents.). "The fear of the Lord is reverence and awe of God... When you talk about the fear of the Lord, be sure your children don't think about frightening movies or slavish fear." (1938) The idea of fearing the Lord as a way of being in awe of God is something that is within my abilities as a mother. I can point out the great abilities of the a Creator God, but showing the power of the ocean waves, and stormy winds, the power of life giving rain and sun. These are concepts that are explainable, show-able  and understandable even for young child. The perfect opportunity to prepare the garden bed in their hearts for the Lord to tend to.

Another example that is greatly influenced my confidence in my ability to instruct my children is the idea that we are only complete in Christ. Mostly because this is the truth I know that provides the basis for my faith, and the truth that I feel will impact my kids greatly. As Tedd Tripp says, "Regardless of our temptations and struggles with sin, the difficult circumstances of life, and the sins of others against us. Christ is all we need." (2182) As this is a huge concept that takes serious time to figure out, even for adults, Tedd Tripp goes over different stages that are usual in understanding this concept, and uses each stage as an opportunity to grow in your ability to communicate with your kids on a one-to-one basis.

There are many other little examples in the book like this for parents to use as they strive to instruct and shepherd their kids.

Another great part of the book is that there are little side points that feel more like a woman talking (I'll assume these were side points added by Margy Tripp, but I don't really know.) And I say that because they do read differently, sort of more like the way my mommy friends speak to each other over such issues.

In one such aside  the topic of instructing little kids come up, specifically a two-year-old. And here is the wisdom shared:

"A two-year-old is not self-conscious about motivations. He does not have the maturity to think introspectively, or the insight and vocabulary to identify motives. This will have to wait until a child has developed the understanding and vocabulary to think about the subtle attitudes of the heart. 
Parents of preschoolers can begin to introduce attitudes of heart by speaking of selfishness, anger, love, hatred, and so forth.  As you use these terms you child will grow in his perception of their meaning.   
Preschool is a time when parents are teaching God's law by making appropriate interventions, such as kindly correcting a child who has taken a toy from another child by say, 'Honey, you must give that back to brother. He was playing with it and it is not right for you to take it from him; that is not loving your brother.'" (2632)
These statements remind us parents that each kid is different, but there are still times when they are simply too young, and we must take small steps in the process of instructing. Remembering our job is to encourage, not tear down. Also, as long as we spend the time teaching our little kids the concepts of feelings, and expressing those feelings we will be able to truly communicate and instruct. These steps will help prime our kids' hearts for God's changing powers.

Such a practical example, and yet it is usable as an outline for when we are in the midst of shepherding and instructing each individual child.

And now before I move on to my closing thoughts on these books, here's a thought to ponder about parenting.

"We don't shepherd our children to assure that our children will 'turn out right.' We shepherd our children to be faithful to the work God has given us." (2942)  (Tweet that)

Does this statement calm you? Does it scare you?  What are you thinking of these two examples about really reaching the heart issues with our kids through formative instruction?

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

Shepherding intro
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Shepherding wrap up

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