Raising children is not for the faint of heart. Have you ever felt overwhelmed, frustrated to the point you lose your temper and yell or scream at your kids? Do you feel at your wit’s ends fighting the same battles, day after day with your children? Is it hard for you to wrap your mind around how they cannot stop doing the things that are getting them in trouble?
No matter what you do, the same behavior is repeated again and again. Does it leave you so frustrated that you count the hours until bedtime? Do you feel guilty for sometimes not wanting to be around your kids because of how they behave? Do you feel terrible for this and feel you are a failure as a parent? Do you think you must be doing something wrong?
You don’t have to tell me the answers to these questions. If you are a parent, it is safe to say that you nodded your head in agreement to most of these things, maybe even all of them. I want to tell you, that it is okay, you are not the only one. We will fail as parents, many times.
I picked up a really good parenting book the other day. The book is titled, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principals That Can Radically Change Your Family. The author, Paul David Tripp, is the executive director for the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas. More than that, he is a dad, a dad who has felt those same things.
I will admit when I picked up the book, I expected it to be preachy and written by a man who was a “perfect” parent, who would tell me everything I was doing wrong. I could not have been more wrong. Right from the Introduction, I saw this was a parent I could relate to, one that struggled in the same ways I did. Nothing was sugar-coated, he was real and the pages are full of wisdom. It is real, he writes about situations of parents who are struggling through parenting. If you are like me, you may find their stories very familiar. Sometimes it is nice to know we are not alone.
One of the things I think will resonate with most parents is the chapter on authority. The author says to never exercise your authority over your child in an angry, impatient, abusive or selfish way. This means, you do not let your anger at your child’s disobedience control you so you do things you should not. For example, it means that you do not pinch, poke, slap, yank or shove your child. It also means that you do not combine your discipline with berating, condemning or demeaning talk. That means you don’t say things like; “What are you, stupid?” “I can’t believe that you’re my daughter!” and other similar phrases.
He does not say this as a perfect parent who has never done this but as one who openly admits doing this to his son after a particularly grueling day. He admits his shortcomings but lets us know that through God’s grace we can always start new. Facts are, we will fail many times as parents and that is okay, we don’t have to feel guilty because we have that grace.
The chapters are the 14 Gospel Principals as they apply to parenting; Calling, Grace, Law, Inability, Identity, Process, Lost, Authority, Foolishness, Character, False Gods, Control, Rest and Mercy. The author’s favorite passage in the Bible about parenting is one you might not expect. It is one of the final commandments Jesus made to his disciples.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)
There is so much in this book that is just profound and really hit home for me. You can read an excerpt HERE or listen to an audio click HERE. I hope you check it out and let me know what you think. You can also enter to win a copy below in our giveaway.
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