Shepherding a Child's Heart

A Review of the Book by Tedd Tripp

For those of you who have not had a chance to read Tedd Tripp’s excellent book on child rearing, I would encourage you to put it at the top of your list. Child rearing books tend to lean unnecessarily to one side or the other. They sound either like a warmed-over psychology tome on sensitivity, or like a “Just spank the kid till the fire alarm goes off” kind of book.

Tripp emphasizes the aim of child training as that of the heart.  After all, the heart is the soil from which actions grow. Sometimes in our well-meaning zeal to implement high standards of conduct for our children (a noble and right goal), we make the sad mistake of being satisfied with mere adherence to the standard without regard for the heart of the child in obedience.

For example, we can force our children to share their toys or suffer the consequences. Consequently, children may learn to share because they fear the retribution of not sharing. But have they learned how to deal with the below-the-surface selfishness and resentment which often attach themselves to such outward obedience?

Tripp highlights the fact that the genius of Phariseeism is the setting of an achievable standard. God gives His children impossible goals to achieve in order that they might run to Him for the power necessary to complete them. Children that have not been consistently brought to face their sinfulness and the life-transforming power of the Cross are doomed to the slow spiritual death of self-sufficiency.

With a refreshing emphasis on training and a balanced defense of corporal punishment, Tripp provides parents with an excellent workbook for the greatest job on earth: parenting! You will be refreshed by his thematic approach to embracing and applying biblical methods in dealing with children of any age.

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