Even though he’s only 2 chapters in, Tripp challenges us as parents to look at 6 key components that influence our children (and that influenced us) as they grow up. He points out – rightly so – that early childhood experiences have lifelong consequences, for good or otherwise (Deuteronomy 6, Ephesians 6, and Colossians 3).
In my previous post, I alluded to which of these 6 components we as parents have influence over – both in our own experience growing up and in our position as parents. Walk with me as I break down the first two and provide you with practical steps to take on your own and with your spouse.
Structure of Family Life
Are you part of a traditional nuclear family? Do your parents (your child’s grandparents) live with you? You may exist in a very egalitarian relationship with your spouse or one that has more matriarchal or patriarchal leanings. Your children may be very close in age or spread out. Things like birth order and personality types (Myers-Briggs anyone?) come into play here. Before you go any further down the path of biblical parenting, you need to have a purposeful conversation with your spouse about how your upbringing influences how you act as a parent.
If you haven’t taken the time to identify the context from which your parenting inclination(s) come and/or how your upbringing causes you to relate to your spouse, you won’t be able to parent in a consistent, effective, and God-centered manner.
This is a big one. Definitely more than 5 minutes but you can at least get the ball rolling…
What are the unspoken rules of your family? What defines you as a family? What boundaries do you hold as parents/are important in your family? What would get your child in the most trouble? Are there secrets kept, what are they about, and why are they kept?
Like I said, this will definitely take more than 5 minutes. I’d highly encourage you to read the book The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family by Patrick Lencioni (aff. link). A businessman, he equates a family to a business which requires identifying what makes you unique (i.e. a mission statement), a pinpointed rallying cry or top priority (something that can be accomplished in 2-6 months), and time set aside on a weekly basis to talk about how your family is functioning. Your 5 minute job for this is to check out Lencioni’s book from your library and at least give it a cursory read. If you like it, buy it and really dig in.
While it might seem cold and calculated, there’s something to be said about stepping back from your situation and treating your family like a business. Would your family be “in business” if it continues running like it is currently?
By taking time to identify your family structure and values, you will take a huge step in your biblical parenting.
You can do this (with His help!!!), Rachel
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.