Our children are much more capable than we give them credit for. No, I’m not talking about in terms of academics, athletics, or the like. I mean in terms of facing and dealing with their own behavior, which stems from the sin in their hearts.
Tripp points out,
God has given children a reasoning capacity that distinguishes issues of right or wrong…this God-given conscience is your ally in discipline and correction.
Tedd Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart
Christ Himself looks straight past behavior when dealing with the Pharisees. He didn’t care about the rules they followed or the laws they kept. He only cared about what motivated them, what drove them, why they did what they did. It needs to be the same with our children.
Blind obedience or heart change?
Yes, I want my children to obey me. Yes, I would love hearing from other parents just how well-behaved my children are. But I want children with a heart that is daily conforming towards Jesus’ heart. My toddler can follow all the rules in the world but never grasp the real reason I desire her to change her behavior.
Raising the bar
Until I start asking more of my children – not to do more, not to be more, but to dig deeper into the why behind their behavior – I am simply having them follow rules. God looks at the heart (does the Old Testament story of Samuel anointing David ring a bell?) and so should we as parents. Let’s hold our children to a higher standard and shepherd their hearts toward Christ’s.
This is part of a 31 day series of shepherding a child’s heart in 5 minutes a day (click here for the series intro). I pray this series edifies you as much as reading Tripp’s book has encouraged and challenged my husband and I in how we raise our children. Subscribe to the blog in the side bar if you’d like to get posts emailed to you in a weekly digest or subscribe on your favorite blog reader.