Monday, June 30, 2008

Shepherding a Child's Heart: Chp 16

Every Monday and Friday, join us in reading "Shepherding a Child's Heart."  I'll post a brief synopsis of the chapter with a few highlights, as well as a few 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 16: Childhood: Training Objectives

Tripp uses this chapter to cover ages 5-12 yrs, essentially the years between beginning school and entering puberty, although that seems to come earlier these days.  Children are beginning to find their independence beyond their parents at this age, seeing to experience the world outside of their family unit.  While the focus of infancy was obedience, the focus of this age is character development.  Tripp states that "addressing the child's character places the emphasis on issues of the heart" (pg 165).    He believes that simply addressing obedience will only get them so far, and that developing character is what with keep them safe in their independence.

Tripp also outlines the elements of a three-pronged tool of diagnosis. He presents this as a tool for parents to evaluate where your child is in their "growth."  The three-prongs are these:
  1. The Child in Relationship to God- "The question is what you discern the nature of that relationship to be" (pg 167).  Does he recognize his need for a savior and his dependence on the grace of God?
  2. The Child in Relationship to Himself- "Your children need to accept and appreciate themselves as a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses- as persons who are exactly what Dod wanted them to be " (pg 168-69).  What is your child's attitude toward himself?
  3. The Child in Relationship to Others- the issue is how your child sees Christ in others.  How does he relate to others his age?
I think this is a great idea and one that I would encourage parents to address even earlier in their life of their children.  While the questions will obviously evolve over time, asking these kinds of questions of ourselves will keep us focused on how well we are showing Christ to our children, even at a young age.  

Questions for discussion:
2. How often do you sit down and analyze your children in terms of these three issues?

4. What are the specific character obejectives that you have been pursuing in your school-aged children?

6. Have you ever kept your child away from an activity because you were afraid he would not be able to handle himself acceptably?  What can you do to equip him to function well independent of your presence?

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