In the midst of moving after a husband starts a new job (which has been my life the last 8 weeks), folding laundry, and breaking up fights, many parents get lost. Feeling pressure to do everything “right” and raise up “good” children, it’s easy to lose sight of our ultimate purpose as parents in the quest for practical tips and guaranteed formulas.
In this life-giving book, Paul Tripp offers parents much more than a to-do list. Instead, he presents us with a big-picture view of God’s plan for us as parents. In an age where most parenting books are how to oriented (do ABC in order to get XYZ), Tripp emphasizes Gospel principles found in the Bible. Outlining fourteen foundational principles centered on the gospel, he shows that we need more than the latest parenting strategy or list of techniques. Rather, we need the rescuing grace of God—grace that has the power to shape how we view everything we do as parents. Freed from the burden of trying to manufacture life-change in our children’s hearts, we can embrace a grand perspective of parenting overflowing with vision, purpose, and joy.
I love this book. It is a breath of fresh air. So what are these 14 principles? Calling. Grace. Law. Inability. Identity. Process. Lost. Authority. Foolishness. Character. False Gods. Control. Rest. Mercy.
I will briefly write a few thoughts on my favorite chapter-Chapter 11: False Gods. (Because of Barb and Iain Duguid's Bible study and teaching, a little over 9 years ago I realized how I am guilty of worshiping things above God. So anytime I read in a book about how we are idol worshipers, I say, "Yes, I am. There are far too many times I prefer peace and comfort over God.")
The principle behind this chapter is that I am "parenting a worshiper, so it's important to remember that what rules your child's heart will control his behavior." Tripp tells us that every parent needs to ask 3 questions: 1. Why do my children do the things they do? 2. How does change take place in children's hearts and lives? 3. How can I be a tool of change in the hearts and lives of my children? Every single thing that my child has said and done is rooted in worship. This longing in my children's hearts to worship is meant to drive them to God. God has given me the job of teaching and warning my children of their sin and God's salvation, of being an example, of disciplining and correcting, but I have no ability to deliver my two children from the natural idolatry in their hearts. My only hope for my children is in the grace of Jesus Christ. This does not mean that I am to wash my hands and give up; I am still obligated to teach and admonish them, as well as be honest with our own struggles. We are to model repentance and forgiveness. I am to examine myself-my heart and desires for idols. Have you gone to your child and asked his or her forgiveness for preferring ease, so you yelled at them? Do your children see you make excuses for actions?
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