In Parenting, Paul Tripp encourages parents to embrace the high calling of being the primary instrument God uses to influence and guide children in their journey to find Him. Unlike typical parenting books, Tripp offers very few tactile suggestions on how to handle misbehaviour or set down rules in the home. Instead, the author wants readers to rethink their approach in parenting and how crucial this role is in shaping their next generation. The book is comprised of fourteen principles that serve to show how parenting is not so much what we can do by our own power but what God chooses to do through us. In these fourteen chapters, the author discusses how the role of parenting is to help children realize that they are desperately lost and need to find grace and redemption through Christ. As redeemed sinners, we are powerless to change anyone including ourselves let alone young sinners who do not yet see their need for Jesus. However, we find grace, hope, and strength in the person and work of Jesus who has conquered everything including the sinful hearts of both parents and children. Thus, parents are not to find security in saying the right words or dispensing the exact amount of necessary discipline but to put their faith in Christ alone who has commissioned parents to be the most influential tool to bring young hearts to Him. For sure, we need to speak life-giving words and practice appropriate discipline but parents are just as in need of grace and mercy from God as their children. Contrary to always being ready with the right parenting response, decision, or words, parents should expect to have tense, awkward parenting moments where they have no idea how to proclaim Christ to their children. In these scenarios, we can find comfort in knowing that God is with us and we can rely on His limitless strength to sustain and use us to reveal Him to our children one small step at a time.
I would gladly recommend this book to parents in all stages of child rearing. For exasperated parents looking for easy and simple solutions to solve their parenting troubles, I am afraid this book may not come across as particularly helpful. I admit that when I started reading, I was somewhat expecting this book to be a handy guidebook to curb misbehaviour and establish discipline in the home. However, Tripp offers much more than parenting tips by showing that the root of child-rearing problems lies not in using the right methods but in addressing the sinful heart that refuses to yield to any authority but its own. Parents need to stand firmly on the promises found in Scripture and the faithfulness of God to direct their children in seeing the glory and wisdom of God as being the supreme good that their hearts should yearn for. When children begin to seek Christ and His righteousness, they can then obey God and their parents with submissive, humble hearts.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a free review copy of this book from Crossway.