Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp

Shepherding a Child's Heart
by Tedd Tripp

Shepherding a Child's HeartOk, I feel led to start this review off with three caveats, to clear the air on this particular review:
1) I was concerned that with the popularity of this book, that it was not generated by a small press, but I did my homework and it appears that it is. The publisher, at least of the version we own, has about eight authors in its 'fold' and has published some thirty books.
2) This book review came as a request from my wife; we have four kids, three pretty much grown, and it's been mainly a review of our parenting to see what we've been doing right and wrong.
3) This book has received a LOT of polarized reviews, pro and con. Hardly anyone appears to be in the middle camp, more on that later. I hope this review can clear the air on some of that.

ON to the review:

Amazon Blurb:
Written for parents with children of any age, this insightful book provides perspectives and procedures for shepherding your child's heart into the paths of life. Shepherding a Child's Heart gives fresh biblical approaches to child rearing.

Dispelling the myths:
This book does not suggest that it's too late for you if you have not shepherded your children's hearts early on. This book does not advocate spanking only, or that it's ever appropriate to spank in anger, or because you are bothered by something your child did, or the damage they did to something valuable, or the noise level in the home.

This book does not imply you should control and dictate every decision your child makes, from what we have for breakfast to what to wear to school.

This book does not suggest that you should rule your home by fear; fear of the Rod or the Parent, anyway. Fear or Respect for God is the motivation and authority for rule in your home.

Affirming the Truths:
This book mandates parents must be involved in the rearing of their children, and in their lives. That discipline is training for LIFE, not revenge or punishment for wrongs.

Dr. Tripp points parents to the cross as a beginning point, that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9) and that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.

The author makes it clear that if you have issues with abuse in your past, or problems with anger, then it's better to get your partner to administer discipline, unless you can get alone with God forst, get your own heart right, before you take your child aside.

The method of discipline in this book states you should discipline (1) your OWN child (2) in private communication to (3) get to the heart issue rather than just the surface sin (4) encourage the child to confess this root issue (5) using God's Word to show what God says about the heart issue (6) by using God's authority to give the child the knowledge that Love requires the rod, and that it's to move them toward God rather than punish, that Christ took the punishment (7) tell your child how many swats they will receive (8) administer exactly that many (9) hug your child and remind them that you and God still love them. (10) consider the matter completely over and the relationship restored.

This book condemns shaming, belittling, abusing, and terrorizing children. It clearly labels such things as child abuse. It communicates that spankings are not for punishment or vengeance but to put a child back into a right relationship with their parents and more importantly, God.

My take:
My wife had read some but not all of this book, and was discouraged that the author seemed to imply that shepherding begins at birth and if you haven't gotten behind the wheel and begun this process by the time they reach 5 then it's too late.

I read the book cover to cover, and really did not see that anywhere. Tedd breaks the life of a child up into three age ranges: 0-5, 6-12, and 13-18. The most polarizing content in this book concerns corporal punishment for your kids (0-5, less for 6-12), and that is the reason for a great many of the negative reviews on Amazon.

Dr. Tripp spends a chapter removing the non-spanking methods of discipline in a child's life (time-outs, groundings, etc.) as non-biblical, using portions of Proverbs as the basis. While it seems he gives no other recourse for discipline, this book is for parents and he is clear that this form of discipline is ONLY for parents to administer to their OWN children.

The entire first half of the book covers getting at the heart of an infraction, of disobedience.
An example of this would be, Steve and Bobby are fighting over a toy. Bobby is trying to pull the toy away, Steve shoves Bobby, who falls down and screams. Who is wrong here? What is going on?

The natural reaction would be to ask, who had the toy first? Let's set a timer, and when it dings, pass the toy to the other child. These might address the symptom, but not the root. In fact, both children are wrong. The toy itself is surface. The heart issue is not loving your neighbor. Not sharing with others. Not looking out for the welfare of others.

Review questions are placed at the end of every chapter, and imply this book would lend itself to small-group discussion in a church study group among parents of infants to teens.

Well, this isn't a novel, it's a parenting help. It discusses spanking your child. It describes how this is biblically accomplished in love and firmness.

Very clean.

Adult Content:
This discusses purity for teens, and how to discuss with your kids.

Christian content:
This entire book is based on and infused with the biblical basis for correct parenting and discipline. It quotes multiple passages of scripture to defend its stance. It is solidly biblical in its presentation.

Final analysis:
Every Christian parent could use a read through this book, no matter the ages of your kids. It is encouraging and instructive and well-written. Five Stars.

About The Author:

Dr. Tedd Tripp is pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Hazleton, Pennsylvania and author of Shepherding a Child's Heart.

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