Chapters 13 & 14: Shepherding the Heart and Training Objectives
This book by Tedd Tripp has been very helpful for me in simply remembering that it is not controlled behavior I should be looking for in my children, however nice that may be, good behavior will come after proper nurturing and shepherding of my child's heart. That means looking for the heart of the matter and taking the time to talk to my child and explain things to my child, and not just when they are in trouble but making it apart of normal everyday activity. I think this helps your child not feel like they are being lectured every time they make a mistake.
Lately, I've been commending and applauding good behavior when I see it. And believe it or not, this even helps with my 9 month old. When I encourage and applaud every time he tries to pull up and stand up or clap his hands, he gets so happy and smiles and is quicker to try it again if he falls or messes up.
With my two year old, I've been more intentional about saying, "I love how you share with Mark." "That was so nice when you kissed his hand, Julia." or "You are getting so big, I'm so proud of you that you didn't cry when Mark wanted your toy." Then she knows I'm noticing good behavior and not always commenting on bad behavior.
Tedd Tripp says, "Learn, therefore, to work back from behavior to the heart. Expose the heart struggles. Help your children see that they were made for a relationship with God." Like, when we were at the library on Friday, and Julia kept building a tall castle, and little 3 year old boy kept walking over just to kick it and knock it down (and his mom just sat and watched). Julia was so hurt and couldn't understand why he wanted to do that to her. I just held her close and started talking to her. "You know Julia, I know you wanted a big tall castle, but maybe we can build one with Dominic and see if he wants to help." Well, she looked at me like, why would I want to build a castle with the boy who keeps messing mine up? But what was I teaching her? Forgiveness. We all need it. And so did this little boy who really just wanted some attention. What good would it have done if I were to pull her away and say, "Okay lets leave?" (run away from problems, people are mean, don't even try to fix it) And guess what? Dominic and Julia happily worked together to build a castle. And no one kicked it down.
Now, Julia is only two, so saying forgiveness and getting all deep really would have been too much for that situation, but I noticed that the mom was very surprised by my reaction. I think she thought it was so great that I didn't yell at her son or move away, but included him in our play time. And when we got in the car I told Julia how proud I was of how she shared and was so nice to the boy. Finding the heart struggle was realizing that it was hard to be nice to this boy who was so destructive, but we all make mistakes, we all need forgiveness, and we all need love. Look at what Jesus did for us because he loved us and forgave us for our sins?
Tedd Tripp says, "Obedience to God is reflected in a child's growing understanding of obedience to parents."
"If a child is going to honor his parents, it will be the result of two things: 1) The parent must train him to do so. 2) The parent must be honorable in his conduct and demeanor." This puts a lot of responsibility on the parents. But we've all seen children who are not honorable to their parents, and then we meet their parents and what do we say? "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." We are the example.