Shepherding Your Children

I'm a big fan of Tedd Tripp and have benefitted his well known book on parenting - Shepherding a Child's Heart. It was given to my wife & I as we were expecting our first child. We've read it together, she's went back through most of it again with her mentor about a year ago, and I've recently skimmed back through it in preparation for a teaching opportunity I have on the subject of parenting. (Tim Challies recently wrote a great review on it.)

While visiting the book publisher's website, the Shepherd's Press , I came across this short article from Tedd:

The Foundation of Instruction

Most Christian parents think of Deuteronomy 6 as a seminal parenting passage. We are familiar with the call to teach God’s ways all the time, “When you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

This passage also says a lot about what makes your teaching really stick. Not surprisingly, your love for God is an essential part of the nurturing process. Deuteronomy 6 is not just about truth transmitted to the hearer through some disconnected mouthpiece like a reporter reading the TV news into the camera. The ways of God must be taught by one who has personally embraced them. They must be life for the mom and dad who are holding them out to be life for the children.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

The foundations of your instruction are not just conceptual; they are spiritual. Your love for God is the foundation for anything you have to say. You cannot impress your children with the fame of the name of God, if you are not impressed with him yourself.

If the truths about God as a God of sovereign power and incredible mercy and grace have not melted your heart and produced in you a profound love for God, you will never impress you children with his awesome glory. If God’s word is not dear to you, it will not be important to your children. It all begins with you being dazzled by God.

Margy reminded me recently of Psalm 34:8, Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! . . . (v.11). Come, Oh, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. It is the one who has tasted and seen that the Lord is good who can teach the fear of the Lord.

The very next phrase in Deuteronomy makes this point. “These commands that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). The things you value and treasure most highly are on your heart. Your heart is tethered to what you treasure. A necessary element of being equipped to show your children the glories and excellencies of God is being awed by those things yourself.

Your own communion with God, your own sense of being satisfied with God and the goodness and mercy of Christ, your own experience, even in the midst of trails, of what Peter calls joy that is inexpressible and glorious is essential to impressing truth on your children. There is something more here than just concepts and ideas, as important as those things are; it is to be your heart-throb. The heart is the core of your being. It is there that the ways and truth about God is to reside so that you can impress them on your children.

Richard Edwards, grandfather of Jonathan Edwards, was described as one who, “…in the presence of God, appeared not only to believe but to delight.” (Iain Murray, Jonathan Edwards, pg.5). Delighting in God is more persuasive than many words.

No comments: