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201 of 205 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth the Long Wait
Instructing a Child's Heart has been a long time coming. It was thirteen years ago that its predecessor, Shepherding a Child's Heart, was published. It was thirteen years ago that Tedd Tripp published his last book. It was no lost on me that many of the book's lessons and anecdotes now focus on the author's grandchildren. Thirteen years is a long time by any measure...
Published on April 1, 2008 by Tim Challies

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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical Differences - But Gems of Wisdom
The Tripps and I would have a few fundamental differences in theology with reading the Bible - notably the application of portions of the Law for the present day church - so much of the book I found myself questioning the high reliance on Old Testament scriptures. However, even in the midst of this, something would be written quite frequently that served as a gem of...
Published on January 17, 2012 by Jeremy C. Walter


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201 of 205 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth the Long Wait, April 1, 2008
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This review is from: Instructing a Child's Heart (Paperback)
Instructing a Child's Heart has been a long time coming. It was thirteen years ago that its predecessor, Shepherding a Child's Heart, was published. It was thirteen years ago that Tedd Tripp published his last book. It was no lost on me that many of the book's lessons and anecdotes now focus on the author's grandchildren. Thirteen years is a long time by any measure!

Instructing a Child's Heart is a book that focuses on "formative instruction," a term that begs further definition. Tripp describes it most simply as "teaching that `forms' our children." It is teaching that "enables them to root life in God's revelation in the Bible. It provides a culture for our children, a culture that is distinctly Christian. It shows our children the glory and dignity of mankind as God's image bearers. It provides a way of interpreting life through the redemptive story of God, who reconciles people to himself." Formative instruction is instruction that comes before problems arise and in that way is different from corrective discipline which follows problems. We form our children by interpreting life for them and responding to its challenges in biblical ways. We form them through the daily discipline of family worship and through spending time deliberately together, but also through reacting properly to the situations life brings unexpectedly. The goal of this formative instruction is, in accordance with Deuteronomy 6, "so that we and our children and our grandchildren may fair the Lord and walk in his ways, enjoying a long life." We help our children construct a worldview that allows them to properly see God for who he is and to properly see them as His creation.

The book falls into three sections. In the first Tripp introduces the reader to formative instruction, looking at the concept through a wide lens. In the second section he zeros in on the more specific topics that form the true substance of formative instruction. And in the third section he focuses on applying formative instruction in very practical ways.

It is the second section that is the heart of the book. Here, over the course of eight chapters, Tripp describes several essential building blocks of a biblical worldview. He dedicates attention to the heart, the principle of sowing and reaping, God's plan for authority, the glory of God, wisdom and foolishness, how we are complete in Christ, and the importance of the church. Each of these receives a chapter, or close to a chapter, in which he describes the principle and how it is foundational to building a biblical worldview. Having done that, he turns his attention to four of these, giving practical pointers on how to get from behavior to the heart, how to apply the sowing and reaping principle of Scripture to corrective discipline, communication with children and the centrality of the gospel.

The strength of this book, like Shepherding a Child's Heart before it, and the message I need to hear again and again, is Tripp's insistence, his constant exhortation, that parents must look beyond behavior and look primarily to the heart. It is far too simple to create little legalists, children who adhere to the letter of law, all the while defying the spirit of the law and the One who gives us laws in the first place. It is more difficult but far more profitable to look to the heart for it is the heart that is the wellspring of all behavior. The heart is the heart of all effective instruction. But where the focus of Shepherding was turning the emphasis from outward obedience to matters of the heart, the focus of Instructing is on building into a child's heart a worldview that is biblical enough and sufficiently robust to stand up to their questioning and to the culture's skepticism. The task of parenting, after all, involves showing our children "the vital connection between the powerful story of redemption in the Scriptures and their daily experience. The instruction we give them will only make sense in the context of the story of the Scriptures that tells them who they are and about the God who made them and offers them redemption."

Like most books on parenting, this one is filled with moments that are at the same time obvious and profound. You will encounter statements that are so obvious you wonder if they really needed to be said, only to realize that you could have used that bit of wisdom only moments ago. While muttering, "Well, duh!" you'll also feel twinges of shame and regret. This is a book that is immediately applicable both to parents and to their children. It is a book that turns to the Bible to provide God's wisdom on how we can be effective parents. "Your greatest need," says Tripp, "is to understand deep truths from the Bible. Solid parenting skills are built on solid truth."

This is not a book that tells you how to control or manipulate your children so that they will spend their lives living in an irrational fear of a domineering parent or a hostile deity. Instead, it is a book that teaches parents to gently but consistently build into children a worldview that begins with the heart and that focuses on God and on His glory. "We should impress truth of the hearts of our children, not to control or manage them, but to point them to the greatest joy and happiness that they can experience--delighting in God and the goodness of his ways."

We've waited a long time for the follow-up to Shepherding a Child's Heart. I believe most parents will feel the wait has been well worth it.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wise, compassionate help for parents, March 24, 2008
By 
John A. Younts (Fountain Inn, SC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Instructing a Child's Heart (Paperback)
This book brings the Bible into the parents' lives in a fresh way. It is one thing to say that parents must use the Bible for parenting. It is another thing to show how that is actually done. Instructing a Child's Heart provides practical, real life instruction on how to do just that. Tedd and Margy Tripp understand that the call of Deuteronomy 6 is to instruct children in the context of everyday life. Such instruction is formative by nature. This formative instruction avoids the quicksand of attempting to change behavior without addressing the heart. Simply changing behavior, without addressing heart change, leads to more behavioral problems, which in turn leads to frustration for both parents and children. Instructing a Child's Heart leads you out of this parenting quicksand to solid ground.

The book is organized in 3 sections:
The Call to Formative Instruction
Introduction to Formative Instruction
Application of Formative Instruction

You will find practical examples and illustrations of how the Bible leads you to address the heart in parenting. As the Tripps say "Discipline is not an opportunity to show our children who is boss or to hand out punishments that will change their behavior... discipline is primarily an opportunity to remind our children of their need to repent and believe in Christ ...." (167). This book provides wise, compassionate direction to help parents bring the riches of Christ to their children. You can trust the biblical content of this book to help you live for the glory of God as you lead your family.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Young parents take heed..., October 12, 2008
This review is from: Instructing a Child's Heart (Paperback)
This is the way God intended for you to "train up" your child. Children don't come w. an instruction manuel and the system that God set up for us...Mothers & Fathers passing instruction down to their children with the guidance of the Church started falling apart in the late 50's -60's. Lack of authority has led to more extreme abuse than those who abused their authority. Training requires hard consistant work. But, as one who has reaped the benefits I can tell you it is well worth it!!! Not only from my children but because they are following these principles, our grandchildren are truly enjoyable to have around!! Every Church should give this book to new parents!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical Differences - But Gems of Wisdom, January 17, 2012
By 
Jeremy C. Walter (Philadelphia, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Instructing a Child's Heart (Paperback)
The Tripps and I would have a few fundamental differences in theology with reading the Bible - notably the application of portions of the Law for the present day church - so much of the book I found myself questioning the high reliance on Old Testament scriptures. However, even in the midst of this, something would be written quite frequently that served as a gem of wisdom and insight.

In particular, the chapter on Sowing and Reaping (Chapter 6) is incredibly insightful and offers some very practical concepts to apply to children's attitudes and actions. Even more so, the chapter on Communication (Chapter 14) is worth the purchase alone, with the thesis being that good instruction from parents to children is a dialogue, not a monologue. And lastly, The Centrality of the Gospel (Chapter 15, also the last chapter of the book) is great in the overall reminder of the purpose of parenting (and life). If I was the editor, I'd actually recommend the Tripps opening up the book with this chapter to set the tone for the book.

Overall - a decent book worth the read for the gems of wisdom sprinkled throughout the book. I found myself being more intentional as a parent while reading it even if I didn't always agree with what the Tripps had to say.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Instruction!, October 8, 2008
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This review is from: Instructing a Child's Heart (Paperback)
This is wonderful instruction on all aspects of "training a child in the way he should go." The best biblical training on "formative instruction" of a child I have read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INCREDIBLE parenting resource--a must-have, June 4, 2010
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This book is absolutely necessary for all parents. Tripp masterfully backs his logic up with poignant scripture references, and the book itself seeps with truth. I love that he has real-life examples of scripted talks parents should (must, really) have with their kids and how to deal with different types of behavior. The book isn't legalistic at all--it balances justice with grace just beautifully. Love it and intend to read it again!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Instructing a Child's Heart, April 26, 2009
This review is from: Instructing a Child's Heart (Paperback)
This is a great book. It is insightful and very helpful in parenting. I'd love to buy one for each of my friends!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read, September 23, 2013
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Great gospel centered parenting advice and practical tips on how to connect with your kids.
More geared to older children.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A biblical home run on the topic of the human heart, September 18, 2013
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This review is from: Instructing a Child's Heart (Paperback)
This is a wonderful book on how to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. If you want to help the children in your life to know and love the Lord, this is a book brimming with biblical truths to equip you to do just that!

The authors present a profoundly biblical perspective on the human heart, helping us examine ours and be transformed in preparation for shaping those of the children He has entrusted to our care.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent perspective, August 31, 2013
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This book has been an eye opener in how to really influence my child's heart and not just control his behavior. It has revealed mistakes we've been making in our parenting, why, and how to correct it from a Biblical standpoint.
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Instructing a Child's Heart
Instructing a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp (Paperback - February 1, 2008)
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