Sid: And I’ll tell you something the next move; the greatest move of the history of the world of God’s Spirit coming on humanity is about ready to happen and it’s going to happen on the young people. Why the young people? Because the older generations just isn’t willing to change their stuck in tradition just like my ancestors were in Egypt when the whole generation did not make it to Israel outside of Joshua and Caleb and a few teenagers. But God wants this generation of young people; He wants their hearts shepherded. And that’s why I have on the telephone Dr. Tedd Tripp pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Hazelton, Pennsylvania. I’m interviewing him and speaking to him about his book “Shepherding a Child’s Heart.” Explain for those again for those that are tuning for the first time Tedd what do you mean by “Shepherding a Child’s Heart?” How is that different than all of these books on child psychology a lot of them Biblical psychology they never deal with this question?
Tedd: Well I think if the heart is the wellspring of life and that’s what proverbs chapter 4 says that Jesus put it this way in Luke chapter 6 He says “It’s out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks.” So whatever is going on in the behavior or whatever children say or do it’s a reflection of the heart. Therefore in parenting I want to be shepherding the heart; I want to see the heart change. The promise of the New Covenant in Ezekiel 36 the heart change; “I will take out your stony heat and I’ll give you a heart of flesh I’ll put My Spirit in you to cause you to walk in My ways.
Sid: But it seems as though children my nature are rebellious, rebellious to any type of authority and by training in this society through the great disciple of our age secular television they don’t respect authority. How do you teach authority in the home?
Tedd: Well that’s a great question I think that you begin by using the scriptures; the scriptures are our guide in all things. And in Ephesians chapter 6 in 1 – 3 it says “Children obey the parent your parents in the Lord for this is right; honor your father and your mother which is the first commandment with a promise that it might go well with you and you might enjoy long life on the earth.” Now what God has done in that passage is that He has drawn a circle in which children are to live and the boundary of the circle is honor and obey. And the promise of the circle the circle of blessing is because the promise is that “It will go well with you and you will enjoy long life.” So I talk in the book “Shepherding” about training children to have that vision to understand from the time that they are very little that you have been given mommy and daddy who love you and it is good for you to obey mommy and daddy. I was watching my youngest son Aaron doing this recently with his son Benjamin and he was saying words like this “Benjamin you need to obey obey God has given you a mommy and daddy who love you and God says that is a blessing for you to obey mommy and daddy and you need to obey mommy and daddy God says that it will go well with you and you want very long life. And then he said to his son he said “Benjamin it’s hard to obey isn’t it.” And Benjamin kind of nodded and he’s 2½ “Benjamin, who can help you obey?” Jesus can help you obey, let’s pray and ask Jesus to help you to obey daddy because you know that’s what’s good for you.” Now there is a very beautiful presentation because what he’s presenting is a very beautiful picture to his son. God has found a circle in which we are to live; it is a good thing for you to obey and I insist on your obedience because I love you and I know that is the best possible thing for you is to be a person under authority. Now I think we talk to our children about that and we sell them on that by continuing given them that truth. And you know sometimes God’s truth it is self authenticating because the Spirit of God works through the word of God to convict our children’s hearts of the truth of God.
Sid: You talk about a misnomer where some children they obey but in their heart they’re fighting you every inch of the way; they’re almost like good actors but there’s no change in their heart.
Tedd: I think that often takes place though because of the fact that the parents are focused so much on externals and not really dealing, not even addressing the heart not really dealing with true submission. So that what I want to do with my children is to continually be persuading them that it is the path of blessing it is the best thing in the world for you to be a person who’s under authority. You know when I was a kid my dad used to do this with me in fact with my siblings he taught us Ephesians 6:1. He used to say to us when we were slow to obey he would say “What’s Ephesians 6:1?” And we would have to quote the verse and then he would say “Now you know what you need to do then don’t you?” And then we would go off and do whatever we were told to do. One night he brought a friend home from work and he was giving us directions throughout the evening “Okay it’s time for you to set the table.” I turned and said “I’ve got homework to do; “What is Ephesians 6:1 so we would go and set the table. Okay it’s time for you to do the dishes, “It’s not my turn. What’s Ephesians 6:1?” We’d go out and do the dishes; okay kids it’s 9:00 it’s time to go to bed “Oh dad.” “Get to bed. What’s Ephesians 6:1? So we went off to bed. The end of the night my dad…
Sid: Excuse me for those that don’t know Ephesians 6:1 would you quote it?
Tedd: Yes “Ephesians 6:1 “Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.”
Sid: That’s short enough for a child to memorize.
Tedd: That’s right and it’s funny that at the end of the night my dad friend said exactly what you said “What is Ephesians 6:1?” He thought that he had learned this magical phrase.
Tedd: But of course it’s not magic it’s a training process but we train our children by coming to them again and again and again with this message “God has drawn a circle” and you can do this visually with kids it’s very easy graphically “God has drawn a circle and the boundary of the circle is honor and obey, I use honor and obey your father and your mother and God promises these wonderful blessings. It will go well with you and you will enjoy long life.” You want it to go well with you don’t you honey. “Yeah, I do.” You want it to enjoy long life don’t you?” Well every child is going to agree to that. Well daddy and mommy want that for you too we want it to go well with you; we want you to enjoy long life and that’s why we insist on you obeying. But what I’m trying to do here is more than even just secure obedience in the moment. What I’m trying to do is help my child do is embrace a whole world view a whole cultural concept that it is a blessing to live under the authority structures that God has ordained.
Sid: You know you’re almost provoking me to jealousy I wish that my parents had raised me that way; I wish that I had known a lot of these things when my daughter was very little. But there’s a generation that will be saying “I wished…” if they don’t start practicing these principals immediately.
Tedd: Yeah and I think you know what by encouragement too I always tell parents when I’m teaching seminars wherever you are trust God with the fact that you heard this today and God’s sovereignty He has give it to you now; you’re kids maybe 6,8,10, 12, 14 start where you are and go home and train and instruct your children first. Talk to them first about these wonderful principals. You know I want life to go well with you; I want you to enjoy long life and God says as you live under His authority as you love honor and obey it will go well with you and you will enjoy long life. So you go home train and instruct your children first. What you don’t want to do is to have them think a new pharaoh’s come to the throne in Egypt and these…
Sid: Speaking of the new pharaoh what’s your position on the rod?
Tedd: Well we…I believe what the scriptures teach and I believe that the scriptures teach very clearly in the Book of Proverbs that we should use the rod of correction. And Proverbs 13:24 “He who hates his son spares the rod and he who loves him disciplines him.” Proverbs 22:13, 14, Proverbs 29:15-17 there’s several passages in Proverbs that talk about the rod of correction you know. “Do not withhold correction from the child if you discipline him with the rod he will not die; discipline him and deliver his soul from death. Proverbs 22:15 says “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child and the rod of correction drives it far from him.” So I believe that God has given us clear direction in the scriptures that we are to; we’re to use the rod of correction and I…
Sid: And to what degree do you do this I mean 3 strokes or where does it become abuse?
Tedd: Well that’s a very good question and I believe that we should be gracious and Godly and never abusive to our children. And I think that proper use of the rod is never abusive. Let me give you an illustration. I had an opportunity to observe a mother giving a spanking. This little…this mother was saying “Honey mommy loves you and mommy’s not mad at you but you disobeyed mommy and God says that you must obey and so mommy’s going to have to discipline you.” And I turned and looked and it was a little girl in our church who was about 4 years old and she was disciplining her dolly and the thing that struck me as I observed this was that there was no anger in her tone, she wasn’t ungracious, she wasn’t unkind, she was focused, she was goal directed. Now obviously she was imitating her mommy she had heard these lines 100’s of times and she had even memorized the whole speech, “Honey I’m not mad at you I love you, you didn’t obey and God said “You must obey; Mommy’s going to have to discipline you.” So I think that it can be done in very gracious ways.
Sid: It kind of explains that scripture you read yesterday that for 3 generations you’re children will be blessed but or for 3 generations they’ll have the wrong things passed on.
Tedd: That’s right, that’s right. I think that we can be very gracious and kind in the way that we do it and I have some steps that I recommend to parents when I’m teaching a seminar that are very very gracious in the way that we approach the use of the rod so that we’re not ever disciplining in anger. And if we keep the focus clear it’s never about anger; you see I’m not coming to my kids with my teeth bared “I’ve had it with you you haven’t been listening to me you’re going to get it now!” When I cook my children that way the energy behind that discipline is anger you know “I’m offended, I’m upset, you’re going to get it.” No the way that I’m coming to my children is “Honey I love you I’m committed to you; God says that you must obey mommy and daddy and “It will go well with you in and you want very long life.”
Sid: What if they’re angry with you after you spank them?
Tedd: Well let me get to that in a second…
Sid: I’ll tell you what I’ll let you get to that one on tomorrow’s broadcast.