Most parenting books talk about how to handle your kids. Paul Tripp’s new book Parenting: The 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family talks about how you handle … yourself. “But wait,” you say, “I’m good, it’s my kid who needs the improvement.” While it certainly is true that our children have a long road of maturity in front of them, let us never forget that raising children plays a formative role in our own spiritual maturity. Think about that, all of those countless hours spent on this thing called “parenting” is also about your own maturity. The great news is that Tripp helps us as parents navigate both sides of this maturing process by laying out 14 principles that every parent needs to remember.
Tripp’s introduction frames the book well. So many times we approach parenting from an ownership perspective. We see our kids as our own to shape into the future adult we want them to be, and in order to accomplish that, we work diligently to shape them into our preconceived image. The problem is that this doesn’t work, so when things go south, so do we – we lose our temper, we become heartbroken in the ways they fail us, we become deeply discouraged. But we are called to be ambassadors to our kids, meaning, we realize that parenting is not about what we want for or from our children, but about what God has planned to do through us in our children. When we realize that our job is to be God’s ambassador of grace to our children – teaching them, shaping them, entrusting them back to God – we begin to be changed ourselves. God is responsible to change their hearts, our job is to keep our eyes on Him.
Now, if you’ve ever read a book by Tripp you’ll know that his books are not filled with “next steps.” This is not a book that will get your kids eating their peas and doing their homework by dinnertime. But it will help you consider why you sometimes yell at your kids, why you are gripped with fear for their future or what it truly means to show your kids grace. So whether your child is just entering the terrible twos or is already begging for a cell phone, this book is for you because it’s about you.