Parenting: The Gospel Matters

As David Powlison says in his Forward to Tedd Tripp’s Shepherding Your Child’s Heart, “most books on parenting give you advice either on how to shape and constrain your children’s behavior or on how to make them feel good about themselves.” Of course, neither of those objectives is completely wrongheaded… they just shouldn’t be a parent’s primary objective. Tripp puts well what should be our primary objective with these words…

God is concerned with the heart – the well-spring of life (Proverbs 4:23). Parents tend to focus on the externals of behavior rather than the internal overflow of the heart. We tend to worry more about the “what” of behavior than the “why”. Accordingly, most of us spend an enormous amount of energy in controlling and constraining behavior.

When we miss the heart, we miss the subtle idols of the heart.

When we miss the heart, we miss the gospel. If the goal of parenting is no more profound than securing appropriate behavior, we will never help our children understand the internal things, the heart issues, that push and pull behavior. Those internal issues: self-love, rebellion, anger, bitterness, envy, and pride of the heart show our children how profoundly they need grace. If the problem with children is deeper than inappropriate behavior, if the problem is the overflow of the heart, then the need for grace is established. Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life and died as an infinite sacrifice so that children (and their parents) can be forgiven, transformed, liberated and empowered to love God and love others.

from Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

40 Ways for Fathers to Make a Difference

by Michael Farris at Crosswalk.com

Michael Farris’s lists are always helpful, fun (and convicting) to read. With Father’s Day around the corner, I thought I would share this one again. It’s a great one for dads.

Here’s a snippet…

During the holidays, dads often have a little more time to do things with their children. This is a time of year when moms definitely can use an extra hand. Few things will mean more to your wife, or help her as much, as spending extra time in beneficial activities with your children.
 
I often am asked to give practical suggestions to fathers. Usually, I have approached these requests in an organized fashioned that presents principles, ideas, and methods. However, a lot of really important things that all dads–including home-schooling dads–can and should do with and for their children are not subject to this kind of systematic thinking. Here are my “Top 40 Practical Ideas for Fathers” for your consideration:
 
  1. Read your little children a story.
  2. Do flash card drills to hone your children’s memorization of math facts.
  3. Do a science experiment with your children using Jane Hoffman’s Backyard Science materials if other resources are not available.
  4. Give your children their spelling tests.
  5. Read your bigger children the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

Click here to read the rest of the list.