Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Shepherding" Chapter 10: A Life of Communication

Following up with the previous chapter about different types of communication, Tripp now exhorts us to make deep communication more of a lifestyle than an event. Shepherding the hearts of our children is a process of guiding and leading our children, helping them understand . . .
  • God and His ways,
  • themselves,
  • how sin works,
  • how the Gospel meets their deepest needs, and
  • their goals and motivations.
Shepherding our children is costly for us. Discipling them requires time and flexibility, since they "do not pour their hearts out or open themselves up" according to our schedule. Therefore, we may need to drop everything in order to seize a moment. Furthermore, we must discipline ourselves to be active listeners. I know that I need to improve in this area, to stop and think about what I hear them say before I speak. And, or course, before we can instruct our children, we need the integrity to model what a disciple of Christ looks like. Do our children see repentance and life change in us?

Every parent that I have talked to that has teenagers or college-age children cannot stress enough about the small window of time that their children are in the home. But this small window will cost us. "Parenting will mean that you can't do all the things that you could otherwise do." It may mean your golf game tanks, or that you don't have a "Southern Living" home. It may mean giving up on your college football habit, or it may involve a career change. What hinders your from more fully engaging your child in a lifestyle of discipleship and communication?

The cost of parenting is high. But is anything worth our children being equipped for a Gospel-centered life? My children are looking to be in a relationship in which they are loved and accepted. I know that I have much to teach them, but they will trust my influence only if they know that I love them and that I am committed to their best interests, above my own desires.

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