Ok, so we are now into Chapter 2 in the Shepherding a Child’s Heart book study. This chapter focuses on the life experiences that are shaping influences in our children’s lives. They include things like:
- Structure of family life (birth order, number of generations living in the home, ages and number of children, etc.)
- Family values (what the family sees as most important, secrets that are kept within the family, family boundaries, etc.)
- Family roles (the role each member of the family plays, who pays the bills, how involved each one is in the family, etc.)
- Family conflict resolution (how parents and family members tend to resolve conflicts – talking it out, walking away, buying things, etc.)
- Family response to failure (how failures are treated within the family, whether they are mocked, put down, encouraged, glossed over, etc.)
- Family history (the general events of childhood – births, deaths, health/sickness, moving, marriages, divorces, stability, job loss, etc.)
What stood out to me most in this chapter was that how Tripp explains that while these shaping influences certainly affect our children, they are not “helpless victim[s] of of the circumstances in which [they were] raised.” We must do our best, as we follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, to provide good influences for our children, but, “Your children are [ultimately] responsible for the way they respond to your parenting.” God is the one who changes hearts, not us. He is the one who saves, not us. That is both scary (because I desperately want them to come to faith, and it would be so much easier if there was just a magic formula to follow that would guarantee that!), and freeing at the same time (as a parent who will frequently mess up and fail over and over again, it is such a blessing that this responsibility does not rest on me but on an all powerful God!).