It’s a journey that you never fully understand until you step into the role. Each developmental season brings new joys and challenges that leave us filled, but at times frustrated and exhausted. I recently gathered with a group of moms to watch a 4 part parenting seminar for the sole purpose of getting instruction and wisdom on how my husband and I could live out this role for the benefit of our own children.
Parenting and the Gospel
Paul Tripp, pastor and author of best selling books “Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family” discusses parenting in light of the gospel of Jesus. According to Tripp, as parents, we should first be about the heart (causal core) of our children and THEN their behavior (symptoms). A focus on behavior alone is more likely to develop children who act on morals alone, rather than a heart transformed by Christ. As parents, our job is to get to the heart of the behavior, the cause of the symptoms. But how do we help our children move beyond behavior modification and moralistic performance to becoming a new creation that lives to righteousness (1 Peter 2:24)?
With this perspective, Tripp developed 5 practical questions and order to engage our children in a dialogue surrounding behavior. These questions promote the skill of self – evaluation, which benefits them as they enter into adulthood. They also allow us, as the parent, to truly respond to our children, rather than react. A reaction is triggered by the behavior and can shift our focus to what our role is really asking of us: connection with and guidance for our children. According to Tripp, these questions can also teach us and our children to move away from the natural tendency of camouflaging our shortcomings, and move toward processing our faults, understanding ourselves, and developing a new perspective.
Parenting Plan of Action
So the next time you find yourself on the cusp of reaction, take a moment and connect with the precious ones in your care who are working to make their own way.
PS: You can use these questions to evaluate yourself as well .
- What was going on? Establish the story.
- What were you thinking and feeling as it was happening? Revelation of motivation. This question helps us teach our children that our heart is always desiring something and it helps us and them to evaluate that motivation.
- What did you do in response? Flow focus. It’s important to see the flow of how things work. Behavior is the result of the heart.
- Why did you do it? What were you seeking to accomplish?
- What was the result? What did the heart produce in way of actions and outcome? It produced consequences and a harvest. We reap what we sow, and we sow what we reap.