Sojourn Home

Basic Training


Parenting School Age Children, Session 6: In this final session, we attempt to put a bow around this topic of parenting school-age children by focusing on one last, but very important topic – character, looking at it from a Biblical perspective.

Before our children go off to kindergarten, our primary focus, as parents, is on obedience; that is, teaching our children to submit to our authority, as agents of God.  This is typically expressed within the realms of obedience and defiance.

But as our children begin that incremental journey away from our constant care and attention, there is a shift in our focus, as parents.  In the school years, we begin to deal, more and more, with behavior that is undesirable, though it may not be disobedient or defiant.  And this is where our parenting must become more sophisticated, because instead of dealing with the black and white issues of doing as they are told, we are now into the shades of gray in between, where our children must learn to use judgment, especially when they are away from our ever watchful eye.

It’s not enough that our children share when they are told.  Rather, we want to raise children who understand why selfishness is wrong and move in the opposite, godly direction.

Download the full class notes for this session or view all of the Sojourn Home Parenting Classes.

The Rod


Parenting School Age Children, Session 5: The idea of spanking children is a controversial one in this country.  There are many people, so-called experts among them, who believe that spanking is an outmoded and even barbaric way of disciplining children.  Many see our children as morally neutral beings who need to be gently pointed in the “right” direction.

A quick scan of the Bible shows us that this isn’t so.

Psalm 51:5 – “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

Hebrews 12:11 – “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Proverbs 29:15 & 17 – “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.  Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.” We’ve talked about the book of Proverbs and how the fool and wise man are repeatedly contrasted – the fool being the one who refuses to submit to God’s authority.  Proverbs is filled with warnings against foolishness, and when these warnings are ignored, along with our instruction, entreaties, and rebukes, then we must move to another form of discipline that will help our children understand the consequences of a life of foolishness and teach them to submit to God’s authority.

In this session we look at the proper application of the rod, that is spanking, and its role in teaching our children to live under God’s authority, with parents as His agent.

Download the full class notes for this session or view all of the Sojourn Home Parenting Classes.

A Key Element of Parenting: Communication


Parenting School Age Children, Session 4 As parents, it’s easy to fall into the trap of lecturing to our children.  Often, in an attempt to be efficient, we deal with improper behavior by lecturing our children, rather than engaging them in a more effective manner.  In this session, we take a look at some goals for communicating with our children - chiefly to seek to understand their hearts.

Tripp lays out a two-pronged approach to discipline that combines the use of what he calls the rod (that is, spanking) with deep communication.  He argues that both are needed in equal measure for a balanced and Godly approach to shepherding our children.

Tripp writes, “Communication not only disciplines, it also disciples.  It shepherds your children in the ways of God.”

We must break free from the thinking that arises out of our busyness and leads to parenting choices based on expediency.  Deep communication takes time, and Deuteronomy 6 commands us to make the time necessary to understand our children and let them be understood:  “Impress (these commandments) on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

Download the full class notes for this session or view all of the Sojourn Home Parenting Classes.

Parenting Goals


Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers, Session 3 As parents, we are exposed to all kinds of ideas of how to parent our children.  They come from everywhere: family traditions, pop-culture, and the church.  In this session, we look at the goals that are impressed upon us and compare them to our Biblical mandate, to see if they hold up to the scrutiny of the Bible.

Tripp suggests an all-encompassing goal that we can use to focus our view of life and the training of our children.  It is the first question and answer from the Shorter Catechism:

Q.    What is the chief end of man?

A.    Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

This lays out a Biblical worldview before our children.

Tripp writes, “From their earliest days, (our children) must be taught that they are creatures made in the image of God – made for God.  They must learn that they will only ‘find themselves’ as they find him.  Your child must grow to see that real living is experienced when he stands before God and says, ‘Who have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you (Psalm 73:25).’  If this is what you want for your children, then you must ensure that the content of everyday life fits this objective.”

Download the class notes for this session or view all of the Sojourn Home Parenting Classes.

You're In Charge!


Parenting School Age Children, Session 2 In this session, we deal with the idea of authority – how we, as a culture, chafe at the idea of it, how we as parents struggle with it, and how our children resist it.  Our key passage comes from Psalm 114:44-45 - “I will always obey your law, for ever and ever.  I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.”

As parents, we have authority because God calls us to be authorities in our children’s lives.  We act on God’s behalf, directing as God pleases, not how we are pleased.  This is an important distinction.  We are God’s surrogates; his agents, and as such, we have a mandate to exercise godly authority over our children, instructing them in the ways of the Lord.

As we teach our children to submit to Godly authority, as expressed through us, we also model submission as we parent according the commands of the Bible.

Download the class notes for this session or view all of the Sojourn Home Parenting Classes.