Sunday, October 30, 2011

Book Review: Shepherding a Child's Heart

Shepherding a Child's HeartShepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A little over a month ago, we participated in the baby dedication at church. The idea is that as parents, we dedicated ourselves to raise our child in the fear and knowledge of the Lord. And the congregation, particularly those that are apart of your life, dedicated themselves to assisting and exhorting you in that endeavor. Its nothing all that fancy, but its one of those rituals or sorts of things that help to impress something on ya.

At the time, we got a gift bag with a certificate, a book and a set of CDs. The certificate went into Peanut's baby book, the CDs next to the CD player and the book next to my chair.

I have enjoyed this book. At first, I struggled with his writing style. Honestly, its written at a popular level, which means 5th or 6th grade. He writes with short, choppy sentences that could use some editing to make them smoother and more readable. But once I got past that, Tripp has some good things to say.

This is a sort-of discipline book, as in how to discipline and train your children. But, as the title suggests, it about dealing with your child's heart issues, not just his behavior. The book assumes that the reader is interested in raising children who love God, know God, and are interested in using Biblical methods to raise their children.  The first part of the book provides the foundation and goals of child rearing and the second part discusses the theory and method.

Much of what Tripp says made sense to me. I'd seen this sort of child rearing in the home I grew up in and in a few other homes that I had close contact with. It was nothing new to me, but it was presented in a way that I feel far more confident now to implement these ideas.

Yes, he advocates spanking in specific, controlled circumstances. He lays out the parameters of when, where and how to spank. A spank is a specific tool with specific purpose that is only used in specific circumstances.

Although what Tripp advocates makes sense to me and seem reasonable and wise, I'm not sure I buy his argument that this is the "Biblical" method. The Bible does set out goals for your children, and some basic guidelines... "Fathers, do not anger (or embitter)your children", "Children obey your parents", and such. But the Bible doesn't really lay out specific methods out side of "talk about these things when you rise, when you sit, when you... [you name it]" You can, however, draw out basic priciples. Tripp does this excellently, but then calls them a "Biblical Method". I think that takes it too far.

So, if you are coming from the same view point of wanting to train your children in the fear and knowledge of the Lord, and you take the same basic worldview, this book has lots of good stuff to tell you. Even if you aren't on the same page, it's still good stuff, but you might have such a beef with what he says that you'll get nothing from it.

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