Sorry, that was the sort of awful pun that only my husband is allowed to come out with! The truth is that I found Tedd Tripp's book 'Shepherding a Child's Heart' very helpful and it still comes off the shelf from time to time so that I can remind myself of the importance of sticking to my guns when discipline seems to be heading out of the window with the children (not the children heading out of the window...). So I was interested to see his new book, written with his wife, entitled 'Instructing a Child's Heart'. I have to confess to not having read it from cover to cover, partly because I started to struggle a bit with it. I definitely like the basic principles he sets out, and some examples can be helpful. However, at the risk of once more sounding racist, my struggles have been with the 'Americanisms'. I would love to find a family, British or otherwise, who actually has conversations as set out in this book. Please let me know if you do and I will take my hat off to you.
Here's an example... Billy has been complaining about his breakfast and this is a suggested response...
" Billy, complaining comes from the heart. Your complaints over breakfast expose internal problems, don't they? a complaining spirit shows a thankless, ungrateful heart toward God and others. 2 Timothy 3:2-4 lists ungratefulness with sins of godlessness..."
Now, while this may be a worthwhile conversation to have about complaining, I know that in reality our breakfast time complaints are more likely to be met with "Come on boys, eat up, we need to get to the shop"!
I don't like to focus though on the negatives and the positives I draw from this and other of Tedd Tripp's books is that he reminds parents not to focus just on the outward behaviour of our children, but to look to their sinful hearts and help them to recognise the sin that is within. He stresses the importance of a Biblical worldview that is not clouded by the changes in society. He highlights the need for clear and careful communication. He emphasises the importance of living out our faith in front of our children and 'practising what we preach'. For this, I can overlook the 'Americanisms'.
Instructing a Child's Heart, by Tedd Tripp, published by Shepherd Press, £10.95