Written by Dr. Kyle Barrett, Director of Spiritual Formation

If we’re honest we all like to have predictable, controlled outcomes. Cause and effect. It’s the way the world works, right?

In parenting, this can lead us to be very aware of the outward behavior and miss the important heart issues at play. We think to ourselves, “Just control the behavior and all is well.” The problem with this approach is that just controlling behavior only works when we are there to control the behavior. Too many kids grow up in good, Christian homes yet go off to college every fall and “lose their faith.”

How can we as parents battle this trend? Tripp says it starts with the heart. Because behavior starts in the heart, it takes a heart alive to its own sinful tendencies in order to truly change one’s actions. He writes, “More than just being managed, our children need to be delivered. More than being instructed, our children need divine surgery. And it’s not enough for you to recognize that need; they must come to recognize it as well, or they will continue to resist your help and not admit their need of God’s.”

Let’s parent in such a way that we don’t see ourselves primarily tasked with behavior management. Let’s see ourselves as vehicles of God’s grace through which he works to show our kids their need for Jesus.

I hope you’ll grab a copy of Paul Tripp’s book, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family HERE.