Jonathan’s Quip & Help for Parents

August 31, 2009


After church services yesterday, I called Jonathan to come to the car so we could drive home.  He approached with a pensive look on his face.  He went on to clarify the “new terms” of our relationship. 

“Daddy, when you don’t tell me what to do, I’ll do it.  And, when you tell me what to do, I won’t do it.”

…Sigh…  Part of me wanted to crack up laughing.  Part of me wanted to weep. 

I love my little boy so much it hurts.  Jonathan, like all of us in our fallen nature, does not want to have an authority over his life.  He wants to be the captain of his own ship. 

I went on the explain to him that God made him.  God is his authority.  God has entrusted him to Kristy and I as authorities over his life as well.   And God has called  him to live in the circle of obedience to his parents. 

In Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tedd Tripp has identified objectives for parenting during three stages of a child’s life.  This book and these principles have been very helpful to Kristy and me as we lead them in God’s ways.  We recommend the book to you for further equipping and support.  


Here is a glimpse of these three stages and objectives for each stage: 

Key Objective for the 1st Stage of Life (birth – age 4/5): Authority. 

“The most important lesson for the child to learn in this period is that he is an individual under authority.  He has been made by God and has a responsibility to obey God in all things.” 

“In Ephesians 6:1-3, God has drawn a circle of great blessing.  Children are to live within the circle of submission to parental authority.”

Scripture Passages: Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 6:1-4

Key Objective for the 2nd Stage of Life (ages 5 – 12): Character. 

“The big issue during these middle years is character.  Your child’s character must be developed in several areas.  You want your child to learn dependability, honesty, kindness, consideration, helpfulness, diligence, loyalty, humility, self-control, moral purity and a host of other character qualities.”

A critical concern during this period is that we do not nurture Pharisaism in our children by simply regulating their lives with rules.  We must help them understand how any tendency to live selfishly and and out of sync with godly character is a manifestation of the sinfulness within.  Point them to the Cross and newness of life through faith in Jesus.

“Your task is to help them understand the ‘overflow of the heart’ aspect of their behavior.”

Scripture Passages: Mark 7:22-23; Luke 6:43-45

Key Objectives for the 3rd Stage of Life (teenage years): Fear of the Lord; Adherence to Parental Instruction; Disassociation from the Wicked.

“Teenagers struggle with the fear of man.  They worry about what their friends will think of them.  They make decisions based on fearing the disapprobation of their peers.  Peers pressure is simple living in the fear of man rather than the fear of God.”

“God understands the problem of influence.  The one who lives in company with wicked people will learn wicked ways.” 

Key Passages: Proverbs; OT Prophets


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