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!