Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chapter 8 - Embracing Biblical Methods: Communication

Saturday's Shepherding a Child's Heart

Last week we discussed discarding unbiblical methods of childrearing. For the next five weeks, we'll be discussing what biblical methods we should be embracing. Today, we'll focus on communication.

Dr. Tedd Tripp begins by explaining the biblical approach is the weaving together of two elements: rich, full communication and the rod. He mentions Proverbs 23:13-26 and how these methods are listed side by side. We will discuss communication through chapter 10 and then the rod in chapter 11.

"Communication is not a monologue. It is dialogue." Great statement by Tripp. How many times do we find ourselves as parents, talking to our children and not with our children? Communication is not a one-way street. It involves the ability to listen. He goes on to say "the finest are of communication is not learning how to express your thoughts. It is learning how to draw out the thoughts of another." I have to brag on my husband hear. He does an amazing job of drawing me out (or at least attempting to). Maybe it's the counselor in him. Will we do that with our child? Will we remember it is a two-way street and we need to understand her?

Tripp says that we must focus on understanding our children and what is going on in their hearts. He gives a great example about a child who is struggling with peer pressure because of his "dweeby" tennis shoes. For the sake of space, I won't repeat the example. He follows by giving two different responses. In the second response, the parent is trying to understand the child. Tripp gives three communication objectives.
  1. The behavior you see is a reflection of the abundance of your child's heart.
  2. You want to understand the specific content of the abundance of his heart.
  3. The internal issues of the heart are of greater import than the specifics of behavior, since they drive behavior.
We need to look at the world through the eyes of our children, not just our own eyes. We need to help our children express themselves in a Christ-like manner. Tripp mentions Proverbs 20:5 which says, "The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out."

Lastly, Tripp walks us through a common scenario. "Junior" hits his sister. When asked why, he says "I don't know." Can he really not know? Well, the answer appears to be yes. He may not yet understand what is going on in his heart. This is why we, as Christian parents, need to help him understand. We should probe his heart. A few (of the 6) questions Tripp suggests:
  • "What were you feeling when you hit your sister?"
  • "Help me understand how hitting her seemed to make things better."
  • "In what other ways could you have responded?"

We are to walk Junior through the nature of his temptation, the possible responses and his own sinful responses.

How are you drawing out your child's heart today? Are you talking significantly more than you are listening? May God lead us all in our efforts to glorify Him through childrearing.

In Christ,

Terra

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