In his book, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, Paul David Tripp writes, “If someone were to ask you what the ultimate job of a parent is, what would you answer? Well, your answer is here. Your job is to do everything within your power, as an instrument in the hands of the Redeemer who has employed you, to woo, encourage, call, and train your children to willingly and joyfully live as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is more important than how they do in school, or how positively they contribute to the reputation of your family, or how well they set themselves up for a future career, or how well they do in sports and the arts, or how well they are liked by adults and peers.”
From the above quote you can see that Tripp’s book isn’t about the latest strategies and methodologies to use with your children (though some instruction on this can be helpful). His focus is more fundamental. He wants to draw our attention once again to the heart of parenting. To do this he lays out 14 gospel-saturated principles that will revolutionize first how you think about this highest of callings, and once convinced will dramatically affect how you work it out in practice.
We live in a day and age where most of us live harried lives. We run from activity to activity. We are pressed on many levels. We are also confronted with expectations (false they may be) of what good parenting is. We’re left to feel a failure if we don’t have our children in all the sporting leagues, while at the same time learning two instruments, singing in the church choir, and working on that resume of service projects that needs to look impressive by the time our child applies for college. All of these “good” things can be the enemy of the best. They can keep us from our true calling as parents.
And so Tripp takes us on a journey reminding us of what our calling is. He reminds us of where we must seek our true identity (in the Lord, not our children). He reminds us that our hearts and our children’s hearts need rescue, and that the law or more parental control or misused authority will never be able to affect the transformation that only grace can bring about. He leads us on to the rest that can come to our hearts when we’ve been unshackled from the lies in which we are so easily entangled and begin to embrace the truths of the gospel which can set us free.
I highly recommend this book to help all parents who might need a “reset” in their parenting mind frame. Take up and read!
Written by Ron Elwardt - Website
Ron Elwardt moved to Phoenix from Wisconsin (Go Packers! Go Badgers!) with his wife Ruth and daughters Megan and Becca in 1989. Recently celebrating his 25th year of ministry at Camelback Bible Church, Pastor Ron currently serves as Pastor of Families and Children. “That I may know Him [Christ] and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death.” – Philippians 3:10