Tedd Tripp

Sid: My guest by way of telephone at her home is the producer of the Messianic Vision Radio Broadcast Janie DuVall. I wanted to bring you in on a little discussion we had just before we did this interview with Dr. Tedd Tripp about his book entitled “Shepherding a Child’s Heart.” And Janie I said to you that this is not from a Spirit Filled approach there’s no physical healings, there’s no encounters with Jesus, there’s no people going to heaven. And as a matter of fact, I mean I can’t get enough of the things of the Spirit so maybe we should scrap this interview and what did you say?

Janie: Well you know the thing is I want the same thing you do; I want to see miracles, I want to see people raised from the dead, I love interviewing people on that you interview people on that but I want my children to see that too, but the thing is sometimes in the Charismatic circles we’re just…we’re not realizing that there’s some practical and scriptural ways that we have to train our children and teenagers so they will see these things.

Sid: Okay look you read this book “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” were there things your personally doing wrong that you got checked on so to speak when you read this book?

Janie: Oh you had to ask (Laughing). Why do you want the list?

Sid: No just one.

Janie: Oh boy “Well, I hate to say it but sometimes I was putting guilt on my children and…by just the things that I would say to try to get them to do what I wanted them to do, I mean that’s really manipulation. And he had the whole thing with this book is about the attitude of the heart. So it wasn’t only my children’s heart but it was checking my heart; he talks about things that are very scriptural. A lot coming from the book of Proverbs and it’s really on wisdom.

Sid: Yeah but you’ve read lots I think you’ve probably read every book on children knowing you, so who needs another book on shepherding children?

Janie: Yeah but you know I want my children…I don’t want them just to look pretty and look nice and that’s the thing a lot of parents are making sure their children behave right or have the right education but we’re really not checking their heart so how could we really expect them to be on fire for the Lord if their heart is not right but they’re looking good on the outside? And that’s what’s different about this book.

Sid: Well you know a thought that’s coming to me Janie as we’re discussing this is as you know I talk a great deal about the One New Man the Jew and the Christians coming together as One New Man in Yeshua, in Jesus. But you know even before that’s going to happen we’ve got to come together as a body. And the charismatic need the fundamentalists and the fundamentalists need the charismatics and we need, we all need Yeshua the King of the Jews. Thanks Janie.

Janie: Thank you.

Sid: I have on the telephone Dr. Ted Tripp he’s Senior Pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Hazelton, Pennsylvania. Recently we got a hold of his book “Shepherding the Child’s Heart.” And Ted I’ve been going round and round with the producer of my radio broadcast whether we should interview you or not it’s different than what we normally talk about on this broadcast. But the consensus is that we should do this. So for starters tell me what you mean by the title “Shepherding a Child’s Heart?”

Tedd: Well the title really is taken from the scripture Proverbs chapter 4 says “Above all else guard your heart for the heart is a wellspring of life.” We live out of our heart and it’s out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. And many times parent’s can get focused on changed behavior and there’s many things people can do to change behavior. But really in a Biblical vision what we’re trying to produce is a change in the heart. Let me give you an illustration. I observed a lady one day in the airport she had a four year old daughter who was very demanding and petulant and the child was wanting this and that from her mother and the mother was clearly exasperated. I was watching carefully from behind my newspaper to see how this mother was going to respond. And all at once she pulled this amazing power play on this child. She turned on this child she said “I’ve had it with you I’m sick of being your mother I don’t want to be your mother any more I quit go find someone else to be your mother and she gather all of her things together and she went and sat at the far end at the gate. And this little girl looked around at all of these adults and the only person she knew there was mother and so she went over and tried to make peace with mother. “I’m sorry mommy.” “Go away I don’t know you who child are you?” I’m sorry mommy, go away I’m going to call the police leave me alone.” And it was at that point that my flight was called and I left that area. But it was a powerful illustration of attempt on the part of a parent to try to change behavior. Now it’s one of those illustrations that leaves a knot in your stomach because you wonder if the cure was not worse than the disease. But the fact is this mother was trying to manipulate the behavior of the child and she was successful at it. She pulled a power play that got the behavior that she wanted she got a compliant child in the bargain but of course at a very great cost in terms of relationship with that child.

Sid: Now I can see how a non-Christian would use a technique like that to be candid with you I got saved when I was 30 years of age and in my family they used that kind of manipulation on me and far grosser than your little illustration. But do Christian families use that same type of manipulation?

Tedd: Sure I think Christian families do all sorts of things to control and constrain behavior. They might use bribery, “Let’s see you’ve got 15 stickers if you get 5 more stickers we’re going to ice cream.” Or they might appeal to their children emotionally “It just makes me so sad when I see the way you fight over your toys. I’ve no joy in my life I thought having children would be wonderful I had no idea what it would be like.” And they’re trying to manipulate the child emotionally or they might even bring Jesus in to the picture. You know Jesus can see right through the roof into the family room what do you think Jesus thinks of what’s going on here? That’s not a bad question if asked for the proper reason but sometimes that question can be raised with no true evangelical purpose of all the only purpose is Jesus is the heavy artillery and I’m trying to produce change in the child’s behavior at this moment and Jesus is the tool of manipulation. Or the parents might threaten their children “You don’t even want to know what will happen if I come up those stairs one more time but it’ll be messy it might be on the news,” you know and they’re threatening the children. There are just a whole range of ways that people try to control and constrain behavior. In my point in the book “Shepherding the Child’s Heart” is that all of those efforts misfire because they don’t address the wellspring of life. The wellspring of life is the heart.

Sid: You know I have to believe that a whole lot of books that Christian parents read that are more psychology then biblical and even many that are biblical don’t address the real thing that parents are to address the heart of the child. I’m a grandfather and so it’s not totally relevant to me but boy I wish I had this when my daughter was young. You give an example in your book that in many examples of things I find fascinating even though I’m a grandfather you have an example of two children fighting over toys I mean yeah that happens all the time. And most parents the first thing they ask is “Well who had it first?” Because in the sense of fairness but why is that wrong?

Tedd: Well I think that “Who had it first” really misses the issue because who had it first that makes it an issue simply of justice or supposed justice at that moment who had it first at that moment had the right to keep. But the fact is 2 children fighting over the toy I’ve got 2 selfish children on my hand; the one child seeing his brother or sister is enjoying the toy ought to say “You go ahead and play with it I wouldn’t think of taking it from you’re enjoying it I’ll play with something else.” The other one seeing his brother or sister would enjoy the toy if he’s going to truly love others before himself ought to say “You go ahead and play with it you would enjoy it I’ll play with something else.” You see I don’t just have a victim and a perpetrator I’ve got 2 selfish children on my hands, I’ve got 2 children who are both self-centered and their both concerned with themselves and their own issues and their own delights. At this moment they feel that they would be delighted by having the toy that the other child has and when we address it simply by giving the toy to the child who had the good fortune or speed to get the toy first we really miss the opportunity to address the heart.

Sid: We’re training them to do what the world does and that is me first.

Tedd: Exactly that is exactly right we’re training them in wrong ways in fact I would even take that another step further then and make this argument that whatever constrains behavior trains the heart. Behavior or the heart is trained by whatever constrains behavior. So for example when parents manipulate their children with shame many of us as adults are people who struggle with shame in our adult lives because we’re manipulated with shame as children. Or we’re manipulated with fear of man “What would people think?” And we struggle with the fear of man as adults, or we’re manipulated with guilt and we’re the kind of people that feel guilty even when we haven’t sinned against somebody we’ve know we’ve disappointed their expectations we feel guilty. And those very things that are used to manipulate our behavior ultimately train our heart and we end up reflecting those things in our adult life.

Sid: Ted let me ask you a bottom line question you have children how’d you’re children turn out?

Tedd: (Laughing) Well I have….

Sid: Tell me what the 3 are doing right now?

Tedd: I have 3 children now one is a contractor and he has a wife and 3 kids. I have a son who is a currently managing Shepherd Press the publisher of “Shepherding a Child’s Heart.” He really had ambitions of going to graduate school and he would like to be a professor he loves the Lord and all of our children are truly seeking God and love God. And I have a daughter who is a school teacher she’s married and has no children she’s just been married for years and she teaches school she particularly specializes in children of learning disabilities.

Sid: Do they all love the Lord?

Tedd: Yes they do, they do but you know what…

Sid: You know what we’re out of time….

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