In the introduction to Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tripp outlines a multifaceted philosophy of parenting. First, a parent must be an authority who is kind. Being authoritative is not about holding your child under your power, but about helping them learn to freely put themselves under your and God’s authority. My children are called by God to obey and honor me, knowing that under my authority they will find security, love, and peace (Ephesians 6:1-3).
Second, a parent must intentionally shepherd their child, so that the child can understand themselves in God’s world. This understanding doesn’t come by mere instruction, but through an intimate discipleship relationship. “Values and spiritual vitality are not simply taught, but caught.”
Third, a parent needs to always keep the gospel as the central focus. Our children need to know that they are created in the image of God, and that they are also fallen sinners. Parenting is not about getting children to behave and do good works, but to help them understand the condition of their hearts. Tripp explains, “Your children desperately need to understand not only the external “what” they did wrong, but also the internal “why” they did it.”
What are your thoughts on these ideas? How have you communicated the gospel truth (image of God, fallen sinners) to your children? If this is a newer concept, how could this be applied to your family? Additionally, what are your struggles with being an authority or a shepherd for your child? What has gone well?