Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chapter 17: Childhood: Training Procedures

Saturday's Shepherding a Child's Heart.

For those of you unfamiliar with this post, I've been working through the book Shepherding a Child's Heart by Dr. Tedd Tripp on my other site. Now that I'm combining the sites, I'm bringing the weekly post to this blog. After much delay, I'm now posting chapter 17. I pray it's a blessing.

Dr. Tripp begins the chapter in the familiar scene of two children fighting over the same toy. He then mentions how all families have a response to the argument but most of these responses will not produce lasting fruit because they do not address the heart. This brings us into a section dealing with focusing on behavior versus addressing the heart.

Tripp reminds us of the principles in chapters 8-10. We can't leave a situation only dealing with the "when" and "what". We must deal with the "why" for this deals with the heart. Tripp uses an analogy that resonates with our family. We struggle with weeds in our yard. It seems as it there is a giant magnetic force that pulls them into our yard! For a while, we only addressed the weeds by mowing them down. Yet this does not solve the problem. They will only come back. We must kill the root to kill the weed. Tripp compares a behavioral response to our children to mowing over weeds.

First, Tripp suggests we appeal to our children's conscience. His model for this is the ministry of Jesus. On numerous occasions, Jesus appeals to the conscience of the sinner. Tripp mentions Luke 10, Matt. 18:21, and Luke 7 to name a few. By appealing to the conscience, we deal with the heart. According to Romans 2:14-15, our consciences either excuse or accuse us. When our children have seen and acknowledged their sin, we must point them to Christ, the only Savior.

Next, Tripp explains the need to develop character in our children. He says, "Character could be defined as living consistently with who God is and who I am." We must teach our children the attributes and personality of God as holy, righteous, forgiving, etc. while we remind them of their personal sinfulness and inability to do good apart from Christ. Please don't read that wrongly. We're not beating our children down. We are to encourage them in that they are children of God, created for His glory, etc. but if they begin to think they are good apart from God, they become smug and legalistic. Tripp gives examples of dependability and moral purity.

To end, we are reminded to interpret the character issues. We are then encouraged to have a long-term vision in our children's needs for shepherding. Remember, these procedures are specific to school-aged children, though some may be applicable to other ages.

In Christ,

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