Friday, April 3, 2009

our joy in parenting

A while ago I posted some thoughts about a teaching series on parenting that Matt and I had just begun listening to.  Perhaps I should have waited to mention it till we finished it, but now we finally have so I feel like I'm bursting at the seems, eager to write as loudly as I can: Parents, this is GOOD stuff!

We are both so grateful to get to hear these things at this stage in parenting, not having missed this any longer! Listening and processing this together felt like strong, fresh air for us easily deflate-able parents!

This series by Ted Tripp is top notch. In these audio sessions, he covers most of what he wrote about it "Shepherding a Child's Heart." After hearing his second talk, Matt and I reviewed how fantastic it was to hear Tripp's emphasis on raising children to be worshipers of God, not just young people who grow up calling themselves Christians and knowing the list of rules they should obey, to go along with that name. That is far from what we want to be doing, what we want to be giving our kids. But honestly, that seems to be the idea that much of the church accepts for what "Christian parenting" boils down to: believe that God is there and behave well (by the way, here's the long list of what "Christians" do and don't do.)

I can't help but wonder if this really is some of another problem too... the sad image that many non-Christians have of "Christians". (What good is their faith? What difference does it make?) Believing in God's existence doesn't ring with more joy in any heart than any of the lesser pleasures available out there. If that's all we have known ourselves or have offered to our kids, it won't hold any of us through the storms of life. But GOD will. Oh God give us grace! We want our children to treasure you and seek You, your kingdom first, finding that you are more satisfying than any other thing, and that your name, your glory, your renown is what we were made to enjoy and pursue!

In the first session, Tripp focuses on training parents in the whys and hows of what he calls "Formative Instruction" (teaching our kids outside of discipline moments how they were made for God's glory, to honor him) and in the last session we heard about sharing the Gospel with our kids when we discipline them (instead of "I can't believe you would be so selfish!" we can identify with our kids, "Mama is selfish too, buddy, and Jesus died for both of us- to forgive us and help us, and give us his Spirit to show love to others.") There are 5 sessions- the three in the middle are outstanding too. Matt and I have laughed together, shed some tears (only me, of course!), repented, and earnestly prayed for God's help to love our kids well, demonstrating our love clearly, like he's teaching. This is good stuff, friends. Really good.

I hope you'll get a chance to listen too.... and do let me know what you think!

Grace and peace to you in Christ, dear parent-friends!