If you ask someone why they became a teacher, it is doubtful that anyone would answer with: “I just love disciplining children.” Most go into the profession because they either want to make a difference in children’s lives or make a difference in society, or simply because they have a deep love for the subject they teach. In striving to be a good teacher, however, discipline always comes with the territory. No matter the students’ backgrounds or strengths, they will make mistakes, and they need their teachers to be able to help them understand the concepts of repentance and forgiveness.
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp addresses these issues. While this book is written primarily for a parent audience, its truths are applicable to teachers as well. After all, both Christian parents and Christian teachers are working towards developing productive citizens not only for the world’s communities, but hopefully also for God’s kingdom. Tripp writes with the latter goal in mind.
The book is split into two parts. The first part, “Foundations of Biblical Childrearing,” seeks to explain the Bible’s directions about discipline and how to look beyond unwanted behaviors towards the root of what it is within the child’s heart that is causing the behavior. As the book says, “What is important is understanding the ‘why’ of what has been done or said. You need to understand not just what has happened, but what is going on within your child. . . . While you can never understand the issues of the heart flawlessly, it is a pursuit worthy of effort” (74). Tripp uses Proverbs 20:5 to reinforce this idea: “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” Going to the heart of an issue will not only fix the issue, but will help the student on a deeper level to build their character on biblical foundations.