Reflections on 42

I finished Shepherding a Child’s Heart last week, and since then I’ve been pondering what to write about it. To be honest, it laid bare several issues in my parenting that needed to be dealt with. The exposed flesh is raw and painful, reminding me of my desperate need for grace and help as I raise the children God has given me.

And grace He has promised to give.

If you are raising kids and have never read this book, I highly recommend it. The principles laid out are vastly different from anything you’ve ever heard about parenting, unless you read different magazines and websites than I do. Rather than simply addressing behavior, Dr. Tripp counsels you to address the heart issues behind the behavior. This goes against pretty much everything you read everywhere else, which basically is behaviorism: reward the good behavior; ignore or punish the bad behavior. While behaviorism is often successful, it doesn’t address the needs of the child’s heart.

I found this book so incredibly convicting. God used it to address the needs of my heart. How can I shepherd my children to live lives that glorify God when I so often live only for myself?

I was also specifically convicted in the area of communication, which Dr. Tripp dwells on as one of the most important methods of biblical child rearing. He speaks on the importance of dialogue, as opposed to parent-based monologues.

A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. (Proverbs 18:2)

He who answers before listening– that is his folly and his shame. (Provers 18:13)

I am definitely guilty of answering before listening, and airing my own opinions rather than seeking understanding.

Honestly, the whole book is rich with insight and practical application in raising children. Although we have a long way to go, I have been gradually applying some of these principles as I work with my kids, and I have been so pleased with seeing them obeying more quickly and thinking through their responses, especially to each other.

I could sit here and write about all the things I found convicting and useful and helpful, but I’d basically be re-typing the book. Which is frowned upon is most circles.

So, basically, you should read this book if you have kids and are looking for biblical methods to raise them. You will be convicted, and you will be blessed.

And I get to cross another thing off my list!

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8 thoughts on “Reflections on 42

  1. I’ve only started it (chapter one) but I’m already learning so much. It’s intimidating to realize what a flawed vessel I am, and then have the responsibility to raise a child… the poor little guy. He’s doomed! (thank goodness for a redeemer!)

  2. I think that is a great book, too – I re-read it often, and am ALWAYS convicted about my own laziness & how far I am from where I want my toddler to be! 🙂 Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. I read that for one of my counseling classes. What a great book full of biblical principles and how to appy them! I’ve loaned, given, and recommend it to people.

    Another one you might like is called “The Heart of Anger” (by Lou Priolo). By the way, I don’t even have kids and the books are convicting! Thanks for the post. :o)

  4. I had a wake up call in parenting yesterday that I didn’t care for! Didn’t realizing I had been coddling Katie so much until she freaked out at the doctors office yesterday and refused to do anything the doctor wanted and threw a huge tantrum. Katie has never thrown a tantrum before and it completely shocked me! Realized I had been comprimising too much when Katie didn’t really want to do something! I feel your “oopsy bad mommy” pain!

  5. i read this book years ago. i too appreciated the “looking at the heart” aspect. and though i have had to discipline the action, i’ve learned to be tender to the heart, to discuss with my children why they (or their sibling) behaved in a certain way. understanding each others hearts has grown grace in them for themselves and each other. it teaches them to look at the hurting world around them too, to see actions of others stemming from broken hearts.

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