Monday, May 26, 2008

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Chp 5

Every Monday and Friday join us for reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart."  I'll post a brief synopsis of the chapter with a few highlights, as well as some of my own thoughts.  At the end of the comments, there will be 2-3 questions for discussion as well.  So join us in our journey toward becoming the mommies that God has called us to be.

Chapter 5: Examining Your Goals

In this chapter, Tripp discusses the fact that, whether consciously or unconsciously, we have goals for our children.  And, whether consciously or unconsciously, we do communicate those goals to them.  Wow!  Wouldn't you rather risk the fear of self-examination than communicate inaccurate goals to your kids?

The unbiblical goals that Tripp mentions are:
  • developing special skills--ok in themselves, but should never be the primary goal in raising our children.  Special note that Tripp makes on page 43: "have you no concern as a Christian parent for the values implied and taught by the coaches and instructors of these activities?"
  • psychological development--look at the self help section in your local bookstore to see how the world preys on our insecurities as parents.  Pg 43: "How can you teach your child to function in God's kingdom, where it is the servant who leads, if you teach them how to make the people in their world serve them?"
  • saved kids--saying the sinner's prayer does not keep one from being a sinner.
  • family worship--is no substitute for spirituality
  • well-behaved children--pg 45: "... having well-behaved children is not a worthy goal.  It is a great secondary benefit of biblical childrearing, but an unworthy goal in itself."
  • good education
  • control
So "what is a worthy biblical goal?"
Tripp's answer to that question is found on page 47: "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever."
As a concluding thought, Tripp states "From their earliest day, (kids) must be taught that they are creatures made in the image of God- made for God.  They must learn that they will only 'find themselves' as they find Him.  Your child must grow to see that real living is experienced when he stands before God and says 'Whom have I in heaven but you?  And being with you I desire nothing on earth' (Ps. 73:25)."

How often do we find ourselves in that position?  How often do we say to God "Whom have I in heaven but you?"  How can we model this for our kids if we ourselves are not that in love with God ourselves?  Makes ya think, huh?

So what are you goals for your children?  And how are you communicating them?  Are you unconsciously communicating things to your children that, upon further examination, you would be repulsed by?  If you were asked what you want for your kids, what would your answer be?  And how are your actions lining up with your words?

Questions for discussion:
1. How do you define success?  How would your child complete this sentence... "What Mom and Dad want for me is...?"

2. You are pushed and pulled by the things listed under unbiblical goals.  Which of these unbiblical goals influences your parenting the most adversely?

3. Remember, you are a shaping influence for your children.  What makes you tick?  What would you say drives you day by day?  What do you fear, love, feel anxious about?  What are the values taught in your home?

9. Are the spoken and unspoken rules of your family life consistent with true spirituality- living for the glory of God? 

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