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Instructing a Child’s Heart
By Tedd & Margy Tripp
I little over a year ago I wrote a review on Shepherding a Child’s Heart which is by the same author. This book is the companion guide and is advertised as being more on the practical side of parenting… It is… slightly!
There were times I couldn’t put this book down and there were times that I wanted to shove it far under my bed and never look at it again. It was SO convicting. Each chapter felt like a dagger in the heart. In the review of the other book I wrote that it was inspiring and encouraging… this book made me feel like a failure and that I have SO much work to do.
This could be good or bad depending on how I respond to it. I think it was actually really good for me because I like to rely on my own strength in everything. I like to think I’m self sufficient and that I’ve got all things under control. I DON’T, but I like to think I do and give the appearances that I do! After reading this book I’ve been confronted anew with how far off I am and how much I need Christ to work in and through me to raise my children.
Each chapter held Bible truths that were convicting, based on God’s Word, good, right and true. They start off the book in the first few chapters talking about God’s call to formative instruction… meaning instructing our children first in the ways they should go and then following up with training and discipline. They should learn natural consequences for actions and the discipline should follow as such.
The following eight chapters review what informative instruction is and what it looks like. Hosting chapters titled Getting to the Heart of Behavior, The Sowing and Reaping Prinicle of Scripture, and Giving Children a Vision for the Glory of God.
The last four chapters were what I thought the whole book was going to be about… that is, the application of the formative instruction. I’m glad these chapters came last and I’m glad the other information was included in the beginning. He spends a lot of time talking about what a conversation could look like or how a training situation could play out.
One example he gives is that of a child breaking a calculator that he needs for school. Don’t rush out to purchase a better and more expensive calculator because Jonny really needed a better one anyway. The child should purchase his own if old enough or learn to do math the long way and learn from his mistakes. All of life has consequences and it would bless our children for them to learn that early.
The biggest thing I walked away with was that I needed to spend more time on my knees praying for my children and for myself knowing that I will fail them and I can’t train them to be who God wants them to be on my own. I thought this book was going to be a Dummies Guide for Training Children, but it wasn’t. It was so much more than that.
Even though I’ve finished the book I NEED to go back and reread it. I really want to go through it with my husband so that we can talk about it and discuss it and be on the same page. We NEED God’s grace in our lives and in the lives of our children. No book can tell us how to do that…. Only God can give us all we need. I’m so glad this book helped me to get that in perspective and to put things in their place.
After all that… I highly recommend this book and it is a must for the home library! If you’ve already read it, I’d love to know what you think!