I’m often asked to share the book that I’m currently reading. I’ll admit that I don’t make as much time for reading as I should. I’m someone who likes to get things done, so forcing myself to take a break and sit down can be difficult.
That being said, I really enjoy parenting and marriage books. And when I say “really enjoy,” I mean that I pick one up a few times a week and read about 10 pages. That’s the way I read most books, now that I’m a mom and am being pulled in 1,000 different directions. But when it comes to books with solid, practical advice, I’ve found that to be a great strategy because it gives me a change to digest what I’m reading.
The book I’m currently reading is called ‘Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles that Can Radically Change Your Family’ by Paul David Tripp. It’s not the type of parenting book that gives you a laundry list of things to do and not to do. It simply provides a detailed explanation of parenting in light of the Gospel and offers a list of general principles to keep in mind.
I especially like the spirit of gentleness that is present throughout the book. As parents, we are called to teach our children right from wrong. For example, if my two-year-old attempts to run into the middle of the road, I would be a neglectful parent if I didn’t stop him. But the goal of parenting is not to force our kids to “listen to Mom and Dad or else.” We have to get at the heart, and we must do it gently and kindly.
Among parents of all faiths, bribery and intimidation are common tactics used to teach our children to obey. That sounds extreme, but it sadly is true of our society. We’ve all been at the grocery store and overheard a parent yell, “Come here, or you’re not watching any TV tonight” or “Sit still, and I’ll give you ice cream when we get home.” While this type of parenting might produce obedience in the moment, it has the potential to cause resentment and unhealthy fear in the long-run. We need to set our parenting standards higher, which means helping our children develop a sincere desire to “do the right thing.”
A principle that really stood out to me in this book is the importance of using my words and actions to be a reflection of God’s character and love. God is patient with me, so I must be patient with my children. God has given me undeserved grace, and so I must extend that to my children.
Parenting is hard work, and since no parent is perfect, we are all bound to make mistakes. But when I read books like this, it helps to renew my mind and readjust my focus on what is good and right. It really is a wonderful book, and one that I highly recommend. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a Christian, I think it would be a helpful way to understand Christianity at it’s core.
The Gospel is about unconditional love. From the time they are itty bitty, I want my children to know that Mom and Dad love them unconditionally and will always be there for them. And then as they grow, my prayer is that they will see the same to be true about God.