Thursday, April 19, 2012
Shepherding a Child's Heart
Today I'm going to link up with Amanda Pelser's book club discussion on Sheperding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. We are currently discussing Chapter 4: You're in Charge and Chapter 5: Examining Your Goals. This is all beneficial instruction for parenting.
In chapter 4 we discover that parents are to act on behalf of God as His agents. An agent is one who acts for or in the place of another by authority from Him. This is one of our most important aspects to functioning effectively as parents. If we act on behalf of God, we must pass the Faith on to our children ("Genesis 18:19, Deuteronomy 6, Ephesians 6:4" p. 30). "God has an objective" (p. 30) which is something toward which effort is directed. "God accomplishes this objective through the agency of parental instruction." (p. 30) Parents are the first and most important educators for their children...not the government and not even the Church. Although we can rely on the Church to assist us in this process because they have the same objective for families as God. Unfortunately, the government's objectives often work towards secularism or any re-indoctrination to passed failed philosophies. We can not rely on them to pass the Faith on to our children. We have a better chance for faith-driven principles to be adheared to in our society when politicians honor the Constitution and Declaration of Independence though. Unfortunately, there are some in power that want to stop honoring these time honored documents that have helped pave a path to prosperity. Parenting can be a real challenge in a culture like ours. In a nut shell, parenting is more than "being an adult care provider. This is light years away from directing your child in the ways of God." (p. 34)
"There are objectives that direct our choices as we raise our children." (p.42) We just have to remember that the primary objective is for our children to know that "man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." (p. 47) In other words we need to know, love, and serve the Lord as our main purpose in life. Our children will know, love, and serve the Lord by teaching them how to embrace and desire scriptural objectives, by loving the Church he founded and participating in the sacraments, and by loving and serving our neighbors as Christ shows us in his own life on earth.
There are many worthy objectives that help our children find success, but they are secondary to knowing, loving, and serving God. Some of these objectives are listed in Chapter 5: "Developing Special Skills, Phsychological Adjustment, Saved Children, Family Worship, Well-Behaved Children, Good Education, and Control." One item that really caught my eye can be attributed to leaders who deceive the righteous and poor people in our country was included in well behaved children. Tedd Tripp says that "When being well-mannered is severed from biblical roots in servanthood, manners becomes a classy tool of manipulation. Your children learn how to work others in a subtle but profoundly self-serving way. Some children become crass manipulators of others and disdainful of people with less polish." (p. 46) This is a sad state of affairs because the naive are attracted to these people with poise and no sense. This is why so many Americans vote for the wrong candidates for president.
We are in a spiritual war and need to equip our children with the truth by shepherding their hearts. Christians have been persecuted since the beginning of time and we need to continue to pray and teach our children that the most important purpose of their lives is to know, love, and serve the Lord. This can attract the lost to come to righteousness in the Lord. Everything else is secondary but can be utilized after our children ask themselves "WWJD" (What would Jesus do?) in the situations they encounter in life. Knowing, loving, and serving the Lord is first and foremost in our lives.