Friday, May 30, 2008

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Chp 6

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 a few of my personal 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 6: Reworking your Goals

In this chapter, Tripp revisits the unbliblical goals discussed in the last chapter "in light of the chief end of man- to glorify God..." pg 51.  Here they are again:
  • Developing Special Skills- Tripp says this, "A biblical world view dictates that you should teach your children to exercise and care for their bodies as an expression of stewardship for God's gifts.  Abilities should be developed because God has given the stewardships of tents and special capacities" pg 52.  My thought is ... can this be done in sports, etc?  Tripp goes on to state that children should focus on skills that will open doors in ministry.  Again, could this not be accomplished through working with others in organized sports, classes, or activities?
  • Psychological Adjustment- Tripp states that, "In a biblical vision, you should instruct your children to entrust themselves to God in the face of unfair treatment" pg 53.  How can this be accomplished practically in middle school in the face of bullying?  How do we entrust our children in a fallen world?
  • Saved Children- Tripp finds that this goal "misses the spiritual process of nurturing your children" and "what your children need is spiritual nurture" pg 54.  I have to agree that following God is more about discipleship than saying the sinner's prayer.  If it was all about a one-time prayer, then why would we need repentance?
  • Family Worship- Tripp says, "The end is knowing God.  A means to employ in reaching that end is family worship" pg 55.  He believes that the focus should be a closer relationship with our Lord, not gathering for worship every day.  While that is a great tool, it is not the goal.
  • Well-behaved Children- Tripp again finds that "manners are an expression and application of the duty of loving my neighbor as myself" pg 56.  So yes, manners are important, but not the ultimate goal in itself. 
  • Good Education- Tripp states that, "What is important is that your child learn to do his work diligently for God" pg 57.  
All this to say, I'm torn by this chapter.  While I know that Tripp is searching for the ultimate goal, I find that he throws out perfectly innocent "goals" for our children in an attempt to make his point.  Specifically in the area of special skills, I believe there is nothing wrong with encouraging our children to develop skills and talents, as long as those skills and talents don't become gods to our children.  I don't want to present the idea to my children that this is the ultimate goal, but not that it's bad either.  Or am I just too caught up in my own unbiblical goals?  What do you think?

Whatever my disagreement with Tripp at this time, I was delighted to read the following statement at the end of the chapter, "life is found in knowing and serving the true and living God."  Is that how we are shepherding our children?

Questions for discussion: 
"These questions are the same ones that we thought about at the end of chapter 5. How has your understanding of these issues been changed by the Word of God?" pg 59

1. How do you define success?  How would your child finish 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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