Book Review: Shepherding a Child's Heart
Wow. This is now one of those books that I consider a "staple" in our library. It has sharpened my vision, tested my heart, and encouraged my passion for leading our children towards having a heart of passion for God. It helped me to gently evaluate our parenting over the last 6 years and I believe has strengthened me for the next 6 years.
I've already told my family: this is a book you must read before your first kid is one year old!
I don't know why it took me so long to get around to reading this.
It left my eyes and ears open for ways to apply the philosophy and principles in a minute to minute way.
Another thing it got me to thinking about: I interpreted him as coming across pretty strong against positive reinforcement systems as a means of discipline. I firmly agree that "If you obey Mommy I'll give you a sucker" is not acceptable. However, I still stick to my belief that there is an effective place for positive reinforcement plans in the home. Sticker charts, behavior games, goal setting. I think all of this helps to make the training process more effective. For instance, with our oldest in particular, playing habit games help to keep her mind on the daily work of forming good habits. All of our kids are required to clear their plate from the table after being excused from a meal. When Kayla was younger, she had an irritating habit of dropping her fork multiple times during meals. So we decided if she could go a whole meal without dropping her fork, I'd clear her plate for her. It worked beautifully, and kept her more vigilant in her habit forming. That habit solved, we moved on to the habit of her dressing herself in the morning without being reminded. And so forth. It's exciting when we get to switch habits after one is mastered. And it's amazing how such a small thing could motivate her. We also periodically use other methods of motivation like sticker charts and the like for chores. But I happily embrace Dr. Dobson's idea that these are most effective when switched regularly to keep them fresh. (That way I don't feel guilty when one method fizzles and we move on to another.)
Again, I am not talking about bribery towards obedience. But I believe in positive reinforcement and I think God does too. Heaven is positive reinforcement. A paycheck at the end of the week is positive reinforcement, etc. I am not necessarily saying that Tripp disagrees with this thought, but it is something I had to clarify for myself as I read and processed his ideas on the matter.
This book has helped me to improve in my thinking and in the practical, everyday ministry of communication with our children. It has reminded me of the rich relationships that develop from communication. It has encouraged me to help our kids to understand what is pouring from their hearts. It has helped me to refine the discipline process and given me that much-needed kick in the sitter that quality books like these always provide.
If you're a parent and haven't read it, you should!
Shepherd Press Resources
Buy it at Amazon.com