Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Parenting Class Notes and Abby Video

I am taking a parenting class at church called The Case for Kids where we watch videos of Tedd Tripp (the author of Shepherding a Child’s Heart,
one of my favorite books.) He is teaching the material in his book and
I’m getting much more out of it from listening to the lectures than I
did from just reading. I think it is because he is able to explain it more clearly lecturing than writing and drives the points home while talking. Each week, I want
to share a few tidbits of what I’m learning.

Even toddlers are Worshipers.

He made the point last week that even very young children are spiritually
active and worshiping creatures. They are not existing in some neutral
middle ground for 8-12 years until they are able to make a decision for
Jesus. To treat a child like they aren’t spiritually alive until they
are older is not treating them according to knowledge. So a very young
toddler, say a one-year-old like Abigail, is either a) becoming more
and more convinced every day that she is the center of the universe,
that everyone exists to wait on her, that anyone who gets in the way of
her pursuit of having it all now will pay or b) she is growing in the
awareness that there is an authority outside of her that she must obey,
that there is a God that made her and lovingly cares for her, that she
is not the center but He is the center, that other people have needs too
and do not exist to make her happy. We can not wait till later to start
teaching these lessons. Right now she is either learning to worship Him
or she is daily worshiping greed, selfishness, covetousness, the same
idols that adults worship just toddler-style.


The blessings of obedience


Tedd also empasized what a blessing it is to a child to
be taught obedience early on. Their whole life will go so much better
for them if you love them enough to teach them this lesson. The adults
in their life will interact with an obedient child so differently than
a disobedient child. Their Sunday school teachers will tell them how
happy they are to see them, their school teachers will be full of
smiles for them, their grandparents’ will delight to spend time with
them, their friends’ parents will want to have them over, their
employers will want to advance them, etc., etc. An undisciplined child
will have negative experiences everywhere he goes: at home there is
tension between him and his parents because of his disobedience, at
school his teachers are mad at him, his siblings can’t stand him, he
can’t keep friends for long, and he doesn’t know why no one likes him.
Wow! This was such a good motivator in encouraging us to keep up the
hard work of disciplining because we love our kids and want it to go
well with them. It is selfishness and shortsightedness on the part of
the parents to fail to discipline because it is easy on the parents in
the short run to not do the hard work.

Disciplining with Scripture

Today he talked about how consequences should always match (as closely as
possible) the offense. This is where grounding and time-out are not
always effective. We want to teach the Biblical truth that whatever you
reap you will sow. We want them to learn early on that hard work
rewards you over and over, but sloth always disappoints. Grounding a
boy who habitually forgets to take out the trash on garbage night will
not be as effective as a consequence like adding extra chores until he
proves himself responsible. Grounding might get him to shape up about
the garbage because he doesn't like being grounded, but it will not
deal with the root issue which is that he is not dependable.

He challenged us to always bring scripture into the lesson because
God’s words are so much more powerful than man’s lecturing. God has
chosen to convict the hearts of our children through his inspired word
if we are not sinful in our presentation but genuinely concerned for
their welfare. He made the point that sins like sloth are actually
spiritual problems and that we need to be more concerned about the
negative fruit in the child’s soul than the inconvenience that the
garbage never gets taken out week after week. We have to use scripture
to root out a sin of either laziness, procrastination,
irresponsibility, or untrustworthiness before it grows into a lifelong
habit.

He gave many examples of how he has seen scripture bear
spiritual fruit in kids' lives as opposed to the parent going on a big
tirade about “I do all this for you and all you have to do is take out
the garbage and you can’t even carry a little can to the curb without
being reminded...What do you think is going to happen to you when you
get your own family, are you just going to let the trash take over your
house?,” etc. etc, and all the rest of the things parents say. That
kind of parenting may intimidate them into realizing that they can't
get away with neglecting the trash anymore, but it will not produce a
heart change in the child where they realize that being lazy is never a
benefit and a resolve to become more diligent like God requires. Next
week is about teenagers so I know I will have a lot to say.
video

1 comment:

Doug said...

Leslie,

Wonderful. Please post more. I too have read the book and had the chance to see Ted teach live in Bloomington last year. It was wonderful. However, I feel that I need to be taught this stuff about every other week in order to remember and each time I get so much more and different from it. So, please continue to post on this.

Archie