This week in the Shepherding a Child’s Heart Book Study, we will be covering chapter 8 today, chapters 9 and 10 on Wednesday and chapter 11 on Friday.
As I mentioned last week, I have read some of these chapters with a bit skeptically. I think Tripp has a lot of really good points, but he tends to be very black-and-white about some of his assertions, and I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says. Scripture should be our ultimate guide, and anything we read in a parenting book or any where else (from a friend, pastor, a blog, a seminar, etc.) should be judged in light of what the Bible says. That goes for what you read on this blog as well! That being said, I will summarize the good points that I learned from the book, and evaluate the rest at the end of the study.
In chapter 8, Tripp begins discussing what he calls the Biblical method of communication. He says communication is “not only the ability to talk, but also the ability to listen…. Your objective in communication must be to understand your child, not simply have your child understand you,” and to “help [your] children articulate their thoughts and feelings,” and “engage your children to understand what is going on inside.” This is part of what we talked about previously of understanding what is going on in the child’s heart, getting at the root of the behavior. For example, if my two year old disobeys me and turns on his light before it’s time to wake up, the root of his behavior is selfishness. He is thinking only of himself and his desire to wake up, not thinking of his brother who is still trying to sleep (in the same room) at 5 a.m.
Tripp gives examples of questions to help you “draw out what your child is thinking or feeling” and he encourages you to come up with your own. I found this fairly helpful in reminding myself to look at the heart and the root of the behavior, not just reacting to the behavior itself.
Finally, Tripp reminds us that we are both above and beside our children:
You are above him because God has called you to a role of discipline and correction. You are beside him because you, too, are a sinner who struggles with [these root sins]
A good reminder!