Monday, May 19, 2008

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Chp 3

Wow!  I'm loving this book.  My husband and I were talking about the last two chapters tonight and things were coming together more in my mind.  Solidifying, I guess.  So here's our synopsis for today:

Chapter 3: Your Child's Development: Godward Orientation

I love this quote from page 19: "Whatever the shaping influences of life, it is the child's Godward orientation that determines his response to those shaping influences."  

This, in a nutshell, is the premise of this chapter.  Tripp talks about the vital importance of shaping the orientation of our child's hearts as this will determine how they react to life around them.  He talks about how we are never neutral.  We are either worshipping God or worshipping the world.  There is no middle ground.  Made in the image of God, we are spiritual beings.  And as such, we will find something to worship.  If it isn't God, it is the world.

Tripp goes on to explore the fact that man is born with a sin nature.  We always love the sinner and hate the sin.  I've heard it said that if you doubt man's sin nature, look at a two year old. We can testify to that in our household.  Although we love him, he definately has an an uncanny ability to get into trouble.  

I was particularly convicted by the section highlighting biblical examples of this premise.  Tripp talks through a couple of examples of biblical characters, who based solely on outside shaping influences, should have turned out different.  Joseph, for example, should have turned on his family when he was reunited with them in Egypt.  Based on the circumstances of his life, we wouldn't have faulted him for rejecting them.  However, the orientation of his heart was toward God and the story turned out so differently from what one would have expected.

As my husband and I were talking tonight, the importance of this chapter became so clear to me.  I can structure my children's lives for so long.  Monitor who they spend time with, what they watch on TV, choose the books they read or the places they visit.  Still the choices they make, even in or outside of my home, will be determined by who they are worshipping.  

So it begs the question: When I discipline my children, am I more concerned with their behavior or their heart?

Still on this question!!!

Questions from this chapter:

1. Do you tend to be a determinist in the way you look at childrearing?  Are you able to see that your children are active responders to the shaping influences in their lives?  How do you see them responding?

2. What do you think is the Godward orientation of your children?  Are their lives and responses organized around God as a Father, Shepherd, Lord, Sovereign, King?  Or do you see them living for some sort of pleasure, approval, acceptance, or some other false god?   

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