By WCS Headmaster, Dr. Roger Erdvig
As Lori and I round the last bend on the journey of raising our children (our last one of five just graduated from WCS), I am reminded about who has helped us to raise our children to live out a Biblical worldview. Three classic parenting books (all published more than 20 years ago) have been most influential in shaping our approach to raising kids.
The first is Shepherding a Child’s Heart, by Tedd Tripp. The central thesis of Shepherding is that all behavior flows from a person’s heart and our efforts as parents should be aimed at shaping our children’s hearts to be inclined towards desiring God’s kingdom above all else.
Managing behavior should not be the goal for Christian parents. The degree to which our kid’s hearts are inclined towards Him is the degree to which their behavior will reflect His character. If we focus only on managing behavior, we miss the wellspring of that behavior—the heart.
Here’s a quick quote from Tedd Tripp:
“You shepherd your child on God’s behalf. The task God has given you is not one that can be conveniently scheduled. It is a pervasive task. Training and shepherding are going on whenever you are with your children. Whether waking, walking, talking, or resting, you must be involved in helping your child to understand life, himself, and his needs from a Biblical perspective.”
Book two is by Tedd’s brother, Paul David Tripp, and is called Age of Opportunity. In this book Paul David debunks one of the most common myths of parenting: that rebellion is inevitable in the teenage years. Instead of this pessimistic view that has been shaped by our culture, Tripp offers hope through Biblical strategies parents can employ to transform the teenage years into a season of great opportunity.
Listen to this quote from the book:
“The goal of parenting is to raise children who were once totally dependent on us to be independent, mature people who, with reliance on God and proper connectedness to the Christian community, are able to stand on their own two feet. You are called to be an instrument of wisdom in your teenager’s life. To do so, you must be gentle, humble, patient, and persevering.”
The last book in my “must-read” list for Christian parents has a long and clever title: Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids! This classic addresses the perennial parenting dilemma of getting our kids to stop whining and complaining and making life miserable for themselves and others. (By the way, in this case, you CAN judge a book by its cover!)
Using the Scriptural concept of honor as the suggested centerpiece for our homes, authors Turansky and Miller provide Biblical strategies for reshaping OURSELVES and our kids into people who truly honor others. Honor is defined as doing more than what’s expected, treating others as special, and doing so with a great attitude. Imagine how living that out could change the entire ethos of homes (and schools!).
Here’s a quote from the book:
“Honor doesn’t just address behavior. It involves the heart . . . We’ve discovered that honor is an excellent and refreshing way to motivate children, enhance family life, and bring closeness to relationships.”
As your kids head back to school, why not do some learning yourself? Pick up one (or all!) of these books and sharpen your heart and skills and a Christian parent. If you’re not a parent of kids up to age 18, why not get a few copies of these to give out to the parents you know?
The process of cultural impact and influencing others for Christ starts in Christian homes with how we raise our kids and how we help to shape their hearts.
Cultivating godly influencers
Wilmington Christian School provides a distinctively Christian, innovative education that effectively develops Godly influencers who are well prepared for life after high school and who impact the culture for Christ.