When God gave me a passion for family ministry it was so exciting to learn about resources that others had benefited from for years. There were many times when I felt like I was late to a party. This was true when I first discovered Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Dr. Tedd Tripp. By the time I was first exposed to it, the book had achieved classic status among those that cared about next generation ministry. Once I read the book, I quickly realized why so many people recommended the book so highly.
Parents, pastors, and teachers understand, more than ever, the need to address the heart of the child rather than simply addressing behavior. However, many of us need expert guidance on how to accomplish this mission with biblical fidelity. This book has aged well and provides solid practices that can be used in many different contexts to see children properly shepherded by those that love them the most.
While it was hard to choose, here are my five top favorite quotes from this famous book:
- “As a parent, you must exercise authority. You must require obedience of your children because they are called by God to obey and honor you. You must exercise authority, not as a cruel task master, but as one who truly loves them.” (xx)
- “A change in behavior that does not stem from a change in heart is not commendable; it is condemnable.” (4)
- “You make a grave mistake if you conclude that childrearing is nothing more than providing the best possible shaping influences for your children. Many Christian parents adopt this “Christian determinism.” They figure that if they can protect and shelter him well enough, if they can always be positive with him, if they can provide the best possible childhood experience, they their child will turn out okay…These parents are sure that a proper environment will produce a proper child. They respond almost as if the child were inert. Such a posture is simply determinism dressed in Christian clothes.” (15)
- “Some parents are persuaded that the family that prays together stays together, so they determine to have daily Bible reading times. Each family member must be present. They are conscientious about the need for daily devotions. But, as valuable as family worship is, it is no substitute for true spirituality. I know a family that never missed family worship. They read the Bible and prayed each day. But in family living and family values there was no connection between family worship routine and life…While family worship is valuable, the family worship of the family described above reflected a defective spirituality.” (43)
- “Do not wait for this training until your children are teenagers. If you do, you will suffer the indignity of their disrespect. Deal with this is the first several years. Respectful teenagers are developed when they are 1,2,3,4, or 5 not at 13, 14, 15, or 16.” (133)
Looking back through this book left me with the desire to make it an annual exercise. The book is jammed with extremely valuable material. So many loving but stern warnings come from Dr. Tripp. This book would be especially valuable to walk through with a small group or with close friends that are willing to embark on this mission with you. The encouragement and accountability would be irreplaceable.
I’m excited for those of you that will discover this book for the first time. Trust me, it’s okay to be late to the party if you’re willing to stay!
Director of Training and Consulting
Family Time Training