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.
You made it to the last day of dredging out potentially painful things from your own history. Yay! Tripp doesn’t set out to do this to you as a punishment but rather needs to shed light on the context from which you parent since it has such an impact on your children. That’s not to mean that if you had a difficult upbringing that you can’t raise godly children; it just means you might need to do a little more groudwork as you parent your children according to God’s plan laid out in His word.
Family Response to Failure
This one is especially important to me because of how poorly I’ve witnessed teenagers and adults in my life respond to failure in athletics. Of all arenas (literally and figuratively) we have an opportunity to influence our children with our own behavior, this is one of them. Having coached different levels of abilities and both genders, I’ve interacted with parents who throw fits when their children don’t get the playing time they think they deserve to parents who continually encourage their child – and others’ children – even in 40 point losses. The big picture that Tripp wants to paint here is that you as the parent can show your children appropriate ways to respond to failure. But you have to make the choice.
If you don’t know if you do a good job with this or not, ask a good friend, especially if both you and your spouse are friends with both members of the couple you ask. There is amazing strength and wisdom to be drawn from finding a couple that you can go through the journey of biblical marriage and parenting with. If you need further encouragement, read this post I wrote on mentoring. If you do nothing else today (besides finish reading this), please read it and consider who you might ask to walk along side you.
Tripp notes that family profoundly shapes a parent’s values and perspectives. Are your own parents married or divorced? How stable was your family’s economic situation as you were growing up? Did your parents or siblings have health problems? In his example in the book, Tripp notes a conversation with a woman who moved 46 times before she turned 18.
While you don’t have control over your own upbringing, you do have some control over what you do in your own family now that you’re an adult. For example, if you grew up in a financially unstable household, choose 2 things you can cut back on this month. Starbucks trips? Hulu Plus membership? Trading in your newer car for a used one that is still reliable and fits your family’s needs? On the flipside, you could be like us and be grateful you got to grow up in a financially stable home. To continue this pattern, my husband and I have made the decision to live a financially controlled life which allows us to live comfortably but within our means. While there are still months that are tight, it is much better and less stressful than if we allowed ourselves to use credit cards or carry exorbitant loans for fancy cars or other things that aren’t necessary.
If you already feel like you’ve done all you can to construct a family life that you know God is proud of (that doesn’t mean we’re all meant to be rich btw!), give yourself grace for your upbringing and be thankful for the chance you have to parent another generation on this earth.
I hope you’ve been challenged in a positive way rather than getting down on yourself for the work that these last 3 days have taken. Thank you for traveling along with me as we seek to parent our children in a biblical manner!