Tedd & Margy Tripp Help your children delight in God. You may be thinking, “I wasn’t looking for heavy theology; I was looking for practical child rearing advice.” Remember this. Your children are not likely to grow into adults who … Continue reading
Tedd & Margy Tripp Our goal in discipline is to reach the heart of our child. We don’t want to use consequences only to shape behavior. Behaviorism (behavior modification) is constraining and controlling behavior through a system of rewards and … Continue reading
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.’”
Some years back, I had the opportunity to observe for an extended period of time the behavior of a young boy I would eventually come to identify as the unhappiest child I knew. When you think of the reasons that a child might be perpetually unhappy in life, what comes to mind? Perhaps poverty and hardship, physical or mental disability, family strife, abuse, parental abandonment, sickness, or hunger? While these are all understandable reasons for emotional distress, none of these were factors contributing to this child’s continual state of unhappiness. There was indeed neglect involved in the child’s upbringing, but not neglect of material provision. In fact, he was given more than most children would dare to dream of having. Although his parents spared no expense, they did spare (to put it in proverbial terms) both rod and reproof, and thus, the child went the way of an old gallon of milk–he became spoiled rotten.
Without ever being taught how to experience happiness or contentment in life, the boy continually resorted to whining, complaining, pouting, demanding, manipulating, and shouting in an ongoing attempt to satisfy the relentless and growing dissatisfaction within. To put it plainly, spending time in the presence of this poorly disciplined child was quite the unpleasant experience, and one which many people soon learned to avoid. I often wondered if his parents understood the great disservice they were doing to their son. Although they probably believed that indulging the child’s every desire would enable his happiness, their permissive parenting actually produced the opposite result.
During one of his conferences on biblical parenting, Tedd Tripp devoted an entire message to the topic of helping children learn to understand authority. As he explains, a proper authority structure is not mainly for the comfort of parents; it is vital to a child’s well-being:
Imagine with me a locomotive with huge, iron wheels that weighs 60 tons and is designed to ride on a hardened steel track. When that 60 tons of mass gets rolling up and down the track, the train runs with relatively little friction and great freedom. But imagine with me that some well-meaning person came along and said, “What a shame. How narrow-minded and bigoted people are to restrict the train to the tracks. With all that mass and power, let’s liberate trains! Let’s set them all off the tracks and let them go through the meadows and woods and wherever they would like to go.”
How free is that train once you take it off the tracks? It’s going to become mired instantly, because the train has its greatest freedom on the tracks. You don’t liberate the train by taking it off the tracks; you make it totally ineffective. It becomes a 60 ton paperweight when you take it off the tracks. What God has done for human beings is that He has laid tracks upon which we are designed to run, and we will have the greatest freedom, the greatest joy, and the greatest fulfillment when we’re living in God’s world in the ways that He has designed us to live.
There are these marvelous promises for children [in Ephesians 6:2]. When they honor and obey their father and mother, it will go well with them, and they will enjoy long life…There are wonderful spiritual blessings that come to a child that is under authority. The child is learning to accept God’s authority over him. He’s learning that fulfillment for human beings is not found in doing whatever I want to do, but is found in understanding what the will of God is for me and living in light of it. He’s learning to find joy and freedom in running on the tracks as God has designed.
There also are very practical blessings. Imagine with me that you want to take an outing with your children, and you want to invite a friend of theirs along that is going to enhance their enjoyment of this time. Who are you going to invite to come along with you? You’re going to invite the child who respects adult authority. Think about the thousands of times in a child’s life when opportunities come to children who are responsive to authority that are denied children who are wild and unruly. People won’t bow and curtsy before your wild and unruly children. They will regard them as a pain in the neck. If you want your children to be regarded as a pain in the neck, let them grow up without understanding authority. People will not enjoy your kids.
There are wonderful blessings for a child who learns to honor and obey. It goes well with a child when he lives under authority.
(Condensed from Session 3: “Helping Kids Understand Authority”)
Watch or download and listen to this message or many others by Tedd Tripp on biblical parenting HERE.
Please circle any or all of the following that apply.
My weekend activities will include:
- Doing laundry
- Washing Dishes
- Picking up after my children
- Going to the gym
- All of the above and then some
If you circled any of the above (I’m sure there are other options I’ve missed), then today’s post is going to help you turn every one of those activities into an opportunity to learn, grow, and be encouraged. At my house, you won’t often find me in the midst of a household task without something enjoyable playing on my iPod, computer, or CD player. Today, I want to point you to some great resources, so you, too, can add a little something extra to your everyday activities. Why should your mind veg out while you’re in the kitchen, go on autopilot while you drive, or take a nap while you work out? Avoid the brain drain and give your mind and heart something to feast upon!
Over the last week, Revive Our Hearts has aired several conversations with Joni Eareckson Tada which have been tremendously helpful to me. As Joni talks with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, she shares lessons she has learned through suffering, the story of how she and her husband met, how she handled what turned out to be a tough first year of marriage, what she did when she realized her husband would rather watch sports than study the Bible with her, and her perspective on the sanctity of human life. Each of these programs can be read, played, or downloaded at the links below. I can’t encourage you enough to check them out!
Revive Our Hearts Conversations with Joni
- God’s Choicest Tool
- Squeezed by Suffering
- Why is Life So Hard?
- Praying through Football Season
- Celebrating Life
Next on my list of “must hear” is a collection of messages by Tedd Tripp. I’ve told you in the past how much I enjoy and appreciate his books and teaching on biblical parenting. At the following link, you can hear messages Tripp presented at several different venues. He covers a number of practical and helpful topics such as Shepherding Your Child’s Heart: Ages 0-5, Ages 6-12, & Teenagers; Loving Leadership; Motivating and Encouraging Your Children; and many more.
Tedd Tripp’s messages can be played or downloaded HERE.
Happy listening and learning!
Photo: Jannes Glas
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children…”
Ladies, I hope you won’t think I’m bragging here, but I think there’s something you should know about me. I’ve got this parenting thing figured out. Yes, indeed. I thought it was time I revealed this little detail about myself. Honestly, I can’t figure out why everybody makes such a big deal out of it. What’s so hard? I mean, you feed them, clothe them, keep ‘em clean, and when they’re bad, you discipline them. Piece of cake. The people that say no one is a perfect parent have yet to see me in action.
Ok, before I provoke you any further, I think you should know why I’m so terribly confident in my parenting skills. I don’t have any children yet. Sorry, mommies, I was just kidding with you. But you can relate, can’t you? Parenting seems like such a simple task when you don’t actually have the responsibility of doing it, right? Somehow, parenting becomes much more complicated when children are introduced into the picture…at least, that’s what I hear.
Although I don’t yet have children, by God’s grace, one day I will. When that day comes, I want to be as prepared as I can be to train my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. As a Christian mom, my goal will be to raise children who love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. But I’m also aware that ultimately I won’t be able to change my children’s hearts; only God can do that. Nevertheless, I want to do my best through Christ’s strength to introduce my children to the One Who can change their hearts, and I’ll have to learn to trust Him to take care of the rest. The good news is that in addition to His Word, God has also provided us with some excellent biblically-based resources to help us as we seek to become moms who aren’t perfect, but who are pleasing in His sight.
If you aren’t familiar with Tedd Tripp’s books, I really think you’ll benefit from the teaching they contain. Tedd Tripp, brother to Paul David Tripp, wrote a book called Shepherding a Child’s Heart about 15 years ago that every Christian parent should read. I’m not exaggerating; they should. Even if they can’t read, they should learn how, just so they can read this book. Yes, it is that good. Tripp’s approach to parenting is deeply grounded in biblical truth. Instead of seeking only to alter a child’s behavior, Tripp encourages parents to aim for the heart, because our hearts motivate our behavior (Luke 6:43-45; Mark 7:21-23). While externally-enforced conformity is often temporary, changed hearts lead to changes in action that last. In contrast, when parents seek primarily to change their children’s behavior and neglect to focus on heart change, they will often end up raising either little legalists or little rebels. I love this quote from the book:
When we miss the heart, we miss the glory of God…Children are spring-loaded for worship. One of the most important callings God has given parents is to display the greatness, goodness, and glory of the God for whom they are made. Parents have the opportunity, through word and deed, to show children the one true object of worship–the God of the Bible. We know that the greatest delights our children can ever experience are found in delighting in the God who has made them for his glory. (p. xii)
In 2008, Tripp and his wife Margy released Instructing a Child’s Heart, which builds upon the principles taught in the first book. In the following video clips, the author explains the biblical concepts which underlie his books. I think you’ll enjoy hearing his perspective on the high calling of parenthood.
Also available: A 13-part teaching series on DVD based on the material of Instructing a Child’s Heart, which would work well in a church or small-group setting.
If you’ve read one or both of Tedd Tripp’s books on parenting, I’d love to hear you share your thoughts on how his teaching affected your parenting. Did it change the way you dealt with your children? Have you seen any positive results from applying these principles?