"In the midst of folding laundry, coordinating carpool schedules, 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." (inside cover of Parenting by Paul David Tripp)That book description had my attention. I've been through a series of "formulas" in my parenting career, trying to find the right mix of strictness, rules, grace, emotional connections, key words, and discipline tools to achieve well-behaved children with a heart for God. I've swung one direction, and then the other direction. Sigh. The one thing I've learned is - there is no formula.
Paul David Tripp has been watching others struggle in this same way - putting methods before relationship - and often failing to achieve the results they hoped for. That's why he decided to write Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, though he hadn't planned to write another parenting book after his book, Age of Opportunity.
Parenting isn't just a list of tricks of the trade to get your children to behave. It helps you to see their heart, see your own heart, and build a Biblical, godly relationship with your children that will help point your children toward God. It's hard reading at times. It's not just a "feel good" book. It's not a funny book. It's a challenging book, and it can be life-changing if you read it and apply it.
One thing I've realized from my own life, and reading this book definitely confirmed, is that the biggest key to parenting our children is going to be prayer. We must be in prayer for wisdom, in prayer for our children's spiritual lives, and in prayer for ourselves. Parenting isn't just about educating and providing for our children. It isn't just about raising them to support themselves. It is about their eternal future, and there is a spiritual battle involved.
Just wow! If you're tired of trying formulas, and swinging back and forth on the parenting method bandwagons, you need to read Parenting by Paul Tripp. There is so much more at stake, and there is no instant formula. There is only God's grace, God's wisdom, and a heart committed to serving Him and leading your children wisely.
"Parenting is being willing to expend your time, gifts, energies, and resources in a daily battle of worship as God's tool in the lives of your children. It's never just about food, friends, Facebook, homework, sleep-time, clothes, household rules, or sibling squabbles. Those things are struggles because there is a deeper war going on inside the hearts of your children. Every struggle in these areas is an opportunity that is given to you by a God of amazing grace to get at those deeper issues for the sake of the redemption, rescue, and transformation of your children. And God will give you everything you need to engage yourself in that deeper war." (Parenting, page 162)