Over the next few days as we travel through this month of 30 Days of Dad, I’d like to focus on one of the best guides on parenting (in my opinion of course) that I’ve ever used: Tedd Tripp’s Shepherding A Child’s Heart.
I had the pleasure to teach a parenting class using this book with related DVD’s and it was one of the best church experiences that I’ve had in my life. It is one thing for kids to open up about their lives but you have to slap on extra sauce when you get parents opening up about one of the most insecure areas of their lives, raising kids. I often told the class that I was getting taught all through the class as well, so I was nothing but a facilitator, as the lessons impacted and even shamed me in so many ways. I cannot recommend his book enough and please follow along as I just lightly touch on many of the topics in the next couple of weeks.
In Chapter 1, Tedd talks about getting to the heart of the behavior of your child. Behavior is just the overflow with what is going on in their hearts. I love one example he gives where two of your kids are fighting over a particular toy. The classic response we all tend to have is, “Well who had it first?” But Tripp notes that this misses the true heart of the issue and only focuses on rendering justice in the situation. This is not a court of law, this is your home and resolution extends beyond rendering justice.
We need to switch focus to the heart of the children. Both are being selfish and not caring about the happiness of the other! It’s like they are saying, “My happiness depends on me having that toy whether you want it or not.” Selfishness, which is a sin against God and against man, is the real issue in the children.
Before you say, “What man, what about justice? Plus you always talk about that on this site any other time?” Justice certainly has its place, but remember, we’re going after the child’s heart. Anyone who has ever ran a home knows that “finders-keepers” doesn’t work in your familial relationship. For example, the “move your feet, lose your seat” philosophy that happens during family time on the couch. Most parents know that when that argument gets going, both kids are arguing because they want the best seat and will take it by any means necessary. Just saying, “Well, you did get up” doesn’t solve the overall problem.
Putting the plan into action
Whatever behavior your child exhibits this week, especially if it is a behavior that you find displeasing, seek to discover why they did what they did. Ask them,
- “What were you really trying to achieve?”
- If it is something that upsets you as the parent, ask yourself, “What is really going on with them?” and
- “Why did they just do what they did?”
When we look at what’s going on in the heart behind the scene, we may actually have to deal with more than what appears on the surface. Remember this classic: