Whilst we were away for Easter, Rosslyn and I decided that we needed to invest some time in thinking about our parenting. We decided to listen to these. We’d gained so much from Tedd Tripp’s book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart, a few years back that we thouhgt they’d be worth the effort. We weren’t disappointed.
But it was quite an ask. There were five talks and we were only away for six nights! After putting the kids down there wasn’t much of the night left. They’re about an hour long. They provoked quite a discussion. And you can’t listen to themwithout being driven to prayer. But I’ve never listened to anything quite as helpful on the issue of parenting. The truth is that I’ve forgotten most of what he said. But some of it has been imbibed. I’ll need to go back and read my notes and listen to those talks again. And I will. Every summer holiday I try and read three books; one on parenting, one on marriage and one on church leadership.
Tripp’s five talks are
1. The Call to Formative Instruction: which is all about helping our children to develop a biblical way of seeing and understanding things. We’re trying to help them formulate a Christian worldview and appreciate how that’s different to other views of things. You get into some great conversations becaus the kids ask such great questions.
2. Giving Kids a Vision for God’s Glory: which is all about helping our children understand who God is so that they might worship Him. We were challenged to think about how much we’re able to help the kids understand who God is. Our doctrine of God isn’t as strong as our doctrine of salvation and that’s not great.
3. Helping Kids Understand Authority: which is all about helping our children understand that God requires them to obey their parents. This was one of the foundational issues that we got our heads round early on in our parenting. Tripp says that this is the single most imoprtant thing to teach pre-school children is that they are under authority. And that stuck.
4. Helping Kids Understand the Heart: which is all about helping our children understand why they do the things that they do. This teaching about the heart as the seat of motivation isn’t only helpful for the kids it’s invaluable for all adults.
5. Overview of Corrective Discipline: which is all about helping our children understand the value of corrective discipline. Corrective discipline seeks to rescue them rather than punitive discipline which seeks to pay them back for their misdemeanours.
Most parents are up to their necks in commitments. But this is one of those important issues that mustn’t be replaced by the urgent. So think on this. When we learnt to drive we had heaps of driving lessons. We studied the highway code. And then we sat an exam to determine whether we were fit to be on the roads without being a danger to everyone else. Most parents, including myself, do little more than attend three NCT classes, talk to our mates, reflect on how our parents did it and think that we’ve got it sussed. But that’s like saying that we grew up watching Dad drive so we’re confident we can get around central London. But it’s one thing to trash a car through not really knowing how to handle it. It’s quite another to trash a kid. If you’ve not already done so, why don’t you do your kids a favour and give the talks a listen!