This past Monday night we started a parenting study based on the book, Shepherding Your Child’s Heart, by Tedd Tripp. After having read numerous parenting books over the years, I can honestly say it is my favorite. It’s fun re-visiting a book that I read in the midst of parenting 2 little boys. It’s also fun being on the other side of those years and getting to see how the Lord used the knowledge I gained to help mold and shape our boys. I think the first thing I recognize is that I made a lot of mistakes and I didn’t always do it right, followed by the absolute undeniable fact that God, in His sovereign plan, took what little I could muster up and knit it into our boy’s hearts. This is so very obvious to me now that I am left humbled at His care for our family.
The book’s premise is that the behavior a person exhibits is an expression of the overflow of the heart.
In the first chapter we learned:
- The heart determines behavior, what we say and do expresses the orientation of our hearts;
- If we really want to address our child’s behavior we must be concerned with the attitudes of heart that drive their behavior;
- Often as parents we demand changed behavior and never address the heart that drives the behavior.
The beauty of addressing the attitudes of the heart is that it gives us as parents the opportunity to reveal our children’s sin and most importantly point them to Jesus. We get to talk about Jesus, why He came and what He did for us. Sins of the heart are common to man but Jesus came to “change hearts and free people enslaved to sin” (Shepherding Your Child’s Heart). Properly used, this platform will help transform your child’s heart to one that is yielded to the Lord.
It’s a process however; a long, long process. As a parent it will take a major committment of time and effort. It will mean the difference between constraining behavior through offering negative or positive consequences (Behaviorism) and engaging your child on a heart level in an effort to expose heart issues and work through them with the cross of Christ in mind.
On the other side, I can honestly say it is worth every ounce of effort you can muster. Every time I get the pleasure of spending time with our college age son, Alex, I am reminded of the Lord’s mercies and goodness to us. He has abundantly rewarded our diligence and I stand amazed and overwhelmed by His goodness.
Question-What behavior issues are hardest for you to deal with as a parent?