I am not a parent, (I hope that that is apparent by my lack of posts or photos that include cute children) but I've learned that it is wise to learn from wise people in preparation for future seasons. Before getting married or even dating, I had ample opportunities to learn from family, friends, and books about marriage and dating. Their wisdom and insights prepared me to honor the Lord and navigate unknown waters. Brandon and I would love to be parents one day, so it made sense to start reading parenting books now in preparation of future unknown waters, and then Crossway offered a free copy of Parenting by Paul David Tripp in exchange for an honest review.
Let me begin my review with this: you don't have to be a parent to glean nuggets of wisdom from this book. Paul Tripp's gospel-focused content encouraged me in marriage, discipleship, friendships, and even in preparing to be a parent one day, whatever that might look like. If there is one thing that I gleaned from this book, it is this: the law cannot do what only grace can accomplish. This simple truth has impacted me deeply since reading this book.
What does grace accomplish that the law cannot? Well, grace changes hearts. The law reveals hearts, but only grace can change and grow hearts. What does this look like? As a parent, it means that being strict and making more rules will not change a rebellious teenager's behavior. Behavior flows out of the heart, and only grace can change a heart, which changes behavior. This might look like sitting down with your children and seeking to know and understand what is going on in their hearts, helping them to see what is going on behind their actions. Paul Tripp gives a lot of great examples of what this could look like.
This principle is so helpful that it's even impacted my marriage. I can't expect the "law" to do what only grace can accomplish in my husband's heart. I can't expect nagging him or getting upset with him or telling him what to do to change his heart. Only grace can change his heart, just like only grace can truly change my heart. How liberating? Because we can't change hearts, only God's grace can truly change and grow people.
This book is definitely more of a big picture principle book than a list of things to do. If you are a parent or not a parent, this book gives a great grace-filled and gospel-focused vision of parenting for God's glory. Highly recommend it. I enjoyed it so much that here are 5 great books from the book:
5 Great Quotes From Parenting
If you read your Bible carefully, you will understand that God doesn’t call able people to do important things. Abraham wasn’t able. Moses wasn’t able. Gideon wasn’t able. David wasn’t able. The disciples weren’t able, and the story goes on. The reason for this is that there are no able people out there. They just don’t exist. And they surely don’t exist as parents. God did not create human beings to be independently able; he designed us to be dependent. (35)
You can read another great review of this book on the Gospel Coalition: Parenting with a Big Gospel Picture
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