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Case Study in Christian Parenting

I came across an interesting contrast in views of parenting in my readings this week:

From Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp:
“The central focus of parenting is the Gospel. You need to direct not simply the behavior of your children, but the attitudes of their hearts. You need to show them not just the ‘what’ of their sin and failure, but the ‘why.’ Your children desperately need to understand not only the external ‘what’ they did wrong, but also the internal ‘why’ they did it. You must help them to see that God works from the inside out. Therefore, your parenting goal cannot simply be well behaved children. Your children must also understand why they sin and how to recognize internal change.”

From The Duties of Parents by J.C. Ryle:
“I have heard it said by some, that you should require nothing of children which they cannot understand: that you should explain and give a reason for everything you desire of them to do. I warn you solemnly against such a notion. I tell you plainly, I think it is an unsound and rotten principle. No doubt it is absurd to make a mystery of everything you do, and there are many things which it is well to explain to children, in order that they may see that they are reasonable and wise. But to bring them up with the idea that they must take nothing on trust, that they, with their weak and imperfect understandings, must have the ‘why’ and the ‘wherefore’ made clear to them at every step they take, this is indeed a fearful mistake, and likely to have the worst effect on their minds.”

Interesting contrast, no? I believe both are correct, and each serves to round out the other so that there is balance. This is why one must read widely of conservative evangelicals within a field of study. Reviews of both of these books will be posted by the end of the year!

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