In Chapter 2 of Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, he outlines six major shaping influences on our children. If we look deeply enough, they may have shaped who we are today as well.
While the categories and some questions are Tripp’s, I’ve added questions that I think are a bit more applicable to my community. This is not about right or wrong, but this is like looking at recorded history, where what happened, happened, so how does it impact your family and what you choose to do today.
1.) Structure of Family Life
- Is your home a two-parent household?
- Does your child go between two houses each week, month or season?
- How are the parenting roles structured in your home?
- What are the relationships between the children in your home?
- Do you have a so-called “blended family” where one or more children do not live with you full-time?
- If so, how does that child’s personality and home values blend in with the others?
2.) Family Values
- What is important to you and your wife and/or your kid’s mom?
- Do the both of you get more stressed over them not having the latest fashion to keep up with others in school so they don’t get teased or do you get more stressed over what they are being taught (or not taught) in school?
- Does your child’s schedule dictate the family’s schedule?
- Do you not go to church on Sunday because you’re too tired but you’ve never missed a Sunday game? However, you say your faith guides your home values?
- Which is worth more in your home, your book collection or Xbox/PS4+game collection?
3.) Family Roles
- Dad, are you involved in every aspect of your child’s life?
- Who is the primary educator of your children: the parents, friends, or the school?
- Do you treat your children like they are slaves or at best, a servant?
4.) Family Response to Failure
- Does your family quit during hard times or constantly feel hopeless?
- Are problems solved by wisdom or power in your home?
- Does your child swear, especially when angry or frustrated?
5.) Family History
- Does your child know anything thing about your history, or your ancestors?
- How many times have you moved?
- Has your family ever been evicted from the home and/or homeless?
- Has you child ever been home when the utilities have been shut-off?
- Has your family ever been on “government assistance” (not counting student loans, farm subsidies or tax credits for various purchases)?
- Has your family lost a close relative at an early age?
- Has your family ever taken care of a loved one until death?
6.) Family Conflict Resolution
- Does your family resolve issues by talking or walking away?
- Has your child ever seen you and their mother fight?
- Is there verbal sparring in front of your children?
- Has your child ever had a weapon pulled on them or seen the parents fight with a weapon?
- Has your child ever seen your and/or their mom fight someone else?
Whatever the answers to the questions above, and I hope that it at least got you to think about your life as well, Tripp advises against two mistakes:
1.) Seeing the shaping influences deterministically. In other words, similar to one of the questions, viewing parenting as all hope is lost and thinking that what they have seen and experienced has scarred them for life.
2.) Denial that they have been affected in any way by what they have seen and experienced.
Neither view is correct, and find out why in the days to come! In the meantime, think, contemplate, and don’t hesitate to ask and discuss with your family.