Shepherding my Children’s Heart

As I continue to charter these new ‘preteen’ waters, I find myself pulling out the ol’ parenting books from the back of the book shelf, dusting them off, and rereading them for wisdom and guidance. Some of my favorites include Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel and Don’t Make Me Count to Three  by Ginger Plowman. The Bible, by far, is closet thing to a parenting handbook we have of course (book of Proverbs is a great place to start).

It’s so easy to get in a rut of making the rules, correcting the behavior, then enforcing discipline when they break the rules. Too often, I am quick to point out the error, losing patience along the way. While I do want to have well behaved children, my real goal as a parent is ensure that my reflection of God brings my children closer to Him.

With a strong-willed child it can be ever challenging to parent at times. One of my favorite trust analogies I used when she was little (taken from Creative Correction) was this umbrella illustration:
“One day I drew a picture of a large umbrella. Standing underneath were Tucker, Haven, and Clancy… Then I marked the umbrella “Mommy and Daddy.”  After that, I explained the drawing. “When you are being obedient to the things Daddy and I have taught you, you are safely under the umbrella of our protection, The world might ‘rain’ all sorts of problems and temptations on you, but you are protected. God has designed us to be an umbrella for your own safety. If you choose to disobey and walk out from under our covering, you’ll have to deal with the harsh elements of the world.”  – Lisa Whelchel, Creative Correction

The author goes on to say more than just giving illustrative examples, we should be modeling God to our children. This is done by demonstrating  love and respect towards one another (your spouse).

I recently heard someone say that your daughters will grow up and marry a man, that treats them the way your husband treats you. Your son will grow up, and marry a woman that treats him the same way you treat your husband. That hit home for me. While we love one another dearly, it ain’t always pretty. As our children get older and are more in tune with what’s going on around them, I have kept this in the forefront of my mind when Mike and I argue. When I want to come back with a sarcastic (often hurtful) response during a disagreement, I am trying harder, more now than ever, to hold my tongue. It isn’t easy. I would feel much better if I just spurted out what I want to say, but that sense of satisfaction, I know, would be fleeting. But my husband, and my children, might remember those words forever.

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
- Proverbs 22:6

Hey, I might have found my verse for next week!