Shepherding A Child’s Heart – Part 1: What Are We Doing Wrong?

Why is #parenting so hard? What are we doing wrong?  -

Part 1: What Are We Doing Wrong?
Part 2: Biblical Authority
Part 3: The Gift of Communication
Part 4: Biblical Discipline
Part 5: The How & When of Spankings

Desperation for sanity

While enjoying our second honeymoon several months ago, Travis and I delved into a book I’d brought along out of desperation.

Desperation for our sanity.

Life at home was a little chaotic. The kids were fighting, a stir of rebellion was in the air, and our sweet baby girl had developed a stubborn streak a mile wide. We certainly don’t expect our kids to be perfect, but the lines we’d set as parents were getting crossed way too many times. Ever been there?

“With the plethora of material on parenting and the family, it is inspiring – and distressing – to see how few books are genuinely biblical. Here is a refreshing exception. Tedd Tripp offers solid, trustworthy, biblical help for parents. If you are looking for the right perspective, and practical help, you won’t find a more excellent guide.” – Rev. John MacArthur, pastor, author, radio Bible teacher

Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tedd Tripp

The hearts of our children

After reading Shepherding a Child’s Heart, the ‘aha’ moment struck. It wasn’t because of the kids we were losing our sanity, it was because of us.

If we’re honest, most of us secretly want child-rearing to be quick, easy, and hassle-free. Travis and I had fallen into the trap of going through parenthood with a sort of half-hearted attempt, assuming the kids would mature and straighten out eventually.

We put effort into training the oldest two boys, but as the others came along it seemed redundant to train each of them all over again. I mean, couldn’t they just be grandfathered in?

Reading the book was like getting a 2×4 cracked over our heads. It was the wake-up call we needed. We had the wrong focus, the wrong goals, and the wrong game plan.

 We weren’t focusing on our children’s hearts.

Understanding our children

Sounds too simple, doesn’t it – to just say, ‘we need to focus on our children’s hearts’. What does that mean?

Our job as parents isn’t to live with their kids until they turn eighteen – it’s to love them, teach them how to be responsible adults, and to shepherd their heart. When you think about it, that’s a daunting and sobering responsibility.

So how do we go about shepherding our child’s heart? First, we need to understand them.

Think about when you first met your spouse. You wanted to get to know them, so you asked questions – you started conversations. You dug until you learned what their interests were, what motivated and frustrated them, and what their dreams were. . .shepherding our children’s hearts starts the same way.

Children don’t usually sit down and contemplate their actions. They don’t analyze why they said what they did or thought what they did. Part of the responsibility as a parent is to help our kids understand that the things we say and do – our attitudes and actions – are a reflection of something deeper – our heart attitudes.

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. ~ Luke 6:45

Join us for a parenting series

I hope you’ll join me for this five-part parenting series based loosely on Mr. Tripp’s book. As always, we make no claims to ‘perfect parenting’. We’re learning right along with you. Whether you agree with this book and series or not, I encourage all of us to use the Bible as our standard.

Ready to get started? Scootch on over, save me a seat, and I’ll dig into this thing called parenting right alongside you!


Shepherding a Child’s Heart Series
Part 1: What Are We Doing Wrong?
Part 2: Biblical Authority
Part 3: The Gift of Communication
Part 4: Biblical Discipline
Part 5: The How & When of Spankings



Shared with: New Life on a Homestead, The Modest Mom Blog, Time-Warp Wife, Far Above Rubies, Growing Home, Women Living WellDeep Roots at Home, Raising Homemakers, Our Simple Country Life, Comfy in The Kitchen, Creative Christian Mama, Christian Mommy Blogger,


  • Amy

    June 14, 2012

    I am a mother-by-marriage (aka stepmom) and when my then-14 1/2 year old daughter moved in with us after living with her mom I, too, needed a refresher. I picked up Tedd Tripp’s brother Paul David Tripp’s book Age of Opportunity about parenting teens. That book both slapped me (2×4) and humbled me. The first third of the book talks about making my own comfort an idol at the expense of the relationship with the precious girl God gave me when I married her dad. Wow. I still struggled often as I learned to be a godly parent and we navigated it all together. By God’s grace we came through it well. Now she is 23 and we are very close. She and her older sisters all love the Lord. You are so right that we have to deal with our own hearts and sin first! May you be encouraged as you both strive to honor God in your parenting…

    • Paula

      June 14, 2012

      Hi Amy,

      Thank you for sharing your story. Our oldest is 13 – and I have the book you mentioned: Age of Opportunity on my shelf, yet unread. You’ve encouraged me to pick that one up next. I have a feeling I’ll be dodging 2×4’s though!

  • Dory

    June 18, 2012

    This past week I had a lesson on training my children…I had made a mistake but because I am striving to walk in the Lord’s spirit I was able to sense the Holy Spirit pricking my heart and was able to correct it. I really believe if we are not women seeking after the Lord we will loose sight of what is immportant…just a thought!

    • Paula

      June 19, 2012

      You’re so right, Dory! When we seek to raise our children the way God wants us to, we figure out that all the rules and regulations in the world don’t make up for seeing into the precious hearts of our children.

  • Abbi

    July 18, 2012

    I have never read the book you mentioned but have heard of it many times. I think I will try to get it to read as it is always good to have biblical reminders of how to train our children. The book that we have read (several times) and really appreciated is “To Train up a Child” by Mike and Debi Pearl. They also are careful to follow Biblical standards and there book is very practical.