03 March 2010

Our Goals for Julia and Mark

Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
Chapters 5 & 6

Examining your Goals & Reworking Your Goals

Every parent wants the absolute best for their kids. At least, I'd like to think so. As I read these two chapters about goals, and listened/watched to Tedd Tripp's video and heard from Linda and John our Sunday School teachers, I learned so much about myself, my goals as a parent, and realized how much I need God's help and how hard parenting can be.

There are lots of unbiblical goals one can have for his/her child. And for me, that is simply not an option. I'm not saying John and I are perfect or have done a perfect parenting job thus far, but I can tell you with all of my heart we are seeking to raise our children with a biblical worldview and seeking to raise them in a godly way. Hence the need for prayer, wisdom, and lots of godly advice!

Tedd Tripp brought up the un-Biblical goals:

1. Developing Special Skills- Let's be honest, the chances that we are about to raise an Olympic athlete are few and far between, and thus, taking our kids to piano, ballet, soccer, football, Taekwondo, whatever it may be, none of them are evil, but if you enroll your child into 5 activities does that make you a better parent? Does that make your child better? Are these skills going to draw them closer to Christ? What values are being taught by the coach? Will their be biblical instruction? Perhaps we need to ask ourselves these questions before filling up our child's schedule...and what about spending quality time one on one with mom or dad? Or are we too busy driving them here and there? I see this a lot in our world today...and I've already even thought of what things I'd like to see Mark and Julia get involved in...and I've really had to rethink a lot of my choices if I am to be honest, because even I was not thinking through all of the different aspects. Sometimes we just like to keep our kids busy or entertained.

2. Psychological Adjustment- Lots of parents are worried today about their child's self esteem. We want our children to love themselves and have a good view of themselves. We buy books on how to raise kids with high self esteems, etc...but what about teaching our children about how to esteem others? Do we talk to our children about how to serve others? We need to make sure our psychological goals for our children are indeed good for Christians.

3. Saved Children. Of course we as believers want to have children who accept Christ as their personal Savior. But do we push so hard that our child recites a well-rehearsed prayer that has no meaning? Whether our child accepts Christ or not, and at what age, doesn't change our responsibility of raising them properly. And just because our child accepts Christ doesn't mean they will never face problems or deal with sin issues. Our job will always be to shepherd, train, instruct, and discipline...not focus on getting our kids to recite a prayer. Linda and John shared how with their first 2 children they were over zealous in getting their child to say the prayer and get saved, and with their younger two they were really patient and allowed the Holy Spirit to move within the child...and the result...all their children have indeed accepted Christ, but the latter two have much more meaningful testimonies about coming to Christ. So, this is an area where I know I will really have to ask God to help me relax and trust His perfect time, and not to push.

4. Family Worship. Tedd Tripp says, "As valuable as family worship is, it is no substitute for true spirituality." I know of many young people who really do not look forward to family devotions because they feel forced to partake, and they see the hypocrisy in their parents lives. As a Christian parent I think our lives as example are much more powerful than the mere words we say. This doesn't mean that we don't ever have those special devotion times, or prayer times, but they shouldn't be forced and they shouldn't be fake. Because then you will raise fake Christians who become really good at deceiving others.

5. Well Behaved Children. I don't know of any parent who wants unruly, wild, naughty children. But, Tripp says, "Having a well behaved child is not a worthy goal. It is a great secondary benefit of biblical child rearing, but an unworthy goal in and of itself." Here is what I think he means. You can't yell at or discipline your kids just to make the people around you happy. And as a people pleaser as myself (seriously working on this fault of mine), I struggle with this. I want my kids to look good and respond well, and make me look good as a parent. Our focus once again can't be on what other's think, but our child's heart.

6. Good Education. Education does not necessarily bring success. How many people do you know or have heard of who go to "good schools" and "good colleges" get great grades, and still don't know what to do with their life? Just because you went to a great school, or won an award, or got on the honor roll doesn't mean you are glorifying God with your life. It doesn't mean that you put others first. It doesn't mean that you are tender hearted or forgiving...it just means you went to a good school. As Christian parents we really need to get better at this. Parents will go to extreme lengths, spend thousands of dollars to put their children into private schools, but what is our goal? What is our focus?

7. Control. Oh boy. I'm in trouble. This is really how I was raised and I think a lot of times the way you were raised can really hurt you as a parent if you are not careful, and if you were not raised in a biblical way, because you either mimic your parents, or you swing the pendulum too far to the opposite way. And so, I can remember my legs being held in church because I moved them, being lectured about putting the forks in the dishwasher the wrong way, never being allowed to voice my opinion (and I don't even think I had opinions b/c I wouldn't dare think differently than my parents because of fear)...Some parents just want to control their children. They just want to have manageable children who are good, and nice, and behave. Ummmm they want robots. Does God try to control us? Does he give us freedom of choices? Did God create us all the same? We can't raise robots so that we have problem free convenient lives that looks neat and pretty to everyone else, we might want to, but it is simply wrong.

So, how do we rework our goals? We need to remember what is the chief end of man. Which is? To bring glory and honor to God and to enjoy God forever.

Here are some more great Scripture just to read and to help us with this. Tomorrow, Lord Permitting, I will continue with our biblical goals for Julia and Mark.

Romans 12:17-21
Luke 6:27-36
1 Peter 2:23
Philippians 2:20-21


  1. Love the background, by the way!

  2. Great post, Kristi! It is so ture. When I first read the list in my own reading of the book, I was taken back. But then as I read his explanation, I realized how right he was and how wrong I was. What a way to get it into perspective.


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