A guide to help Christians parent their children with grace and an emphasis on the cross. How are parents to raise children so they don't become Pharisees (legalists) or prodigals (rebels)? It's all about grace-filled, gospel-driven parenting, says the mother/daughter team of Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson. Christian parents, in their desire to raise godly children, can tend toward rule-centered discipline. There is, however, a far more effective method--a grace-motivated approach that begins with the glorious truth of God's love for sinners. In Give Them Grace, parents will learn how to connect the benefits of the cross--especially regeneration, adoption, and justification--to their children's daily lives. Chapters address topics such as our inability to follow the law perfectly, God's forgiveness and love displayed at the cross, and what true heart obedience looks like. Fitzpatrick and Thompson also discuss discipline, dealing with popular culture, and evangelism as a way of life. Parents will find this book a great resource for raising grace-filled, Jesus-loving kids.
This is a radical approach on parenting as it presents
The over-arching view is that as parents each of us is imperfect however we can live and parent with extreme grace. I am a big believer in "teachable moments". In fact our home has scripture posted on the walls (thanks to the new vinyl cling lettering that looks hand-painted), we have scriptural art work on the walls and shelves - all constant reminders of whom we serve. In fact above the archway in the living room our family theme verse (Joshua 24:15) is posted. My children even memorize a verse for every letter of the alphabet along with other theme verses for their schoolwork. I also love to use moments of life to teach a life lesson based on scripture. However, I found some of the sample conversation in this book to lesson the effect of the gospel and Christ and to even diminish the power of certain scriptures.
For instance I do not apologize when have to discipline my children with spankings by saying "I am sorry to cause you pain...." This quote goes on to diminish the suffering and power of the cross. A more applicable scriptural reference to use is that like God punishes His children out of love so too must we as parents, for if we love our children we will not spare the rod but will chasten them when they are disobedient.
All in all the book is an excellent parenting book in that it is not a list of rules for christian parents to take not of and apply. The danger though is that the sample conversations will become a list of conversation and instead of prayerfully asking that God reveal "teachable moments" the parent might try overly hard to apply scripture everywhere and by default becoming a pharisee of sorts.
Parenting must be done in grace - for this there is no argument. But it must also be approached prayerfully. It must never diminish the gospel or power of the Word of God. And we must all be careful not to use scripture to beat up our children - for in this they will become bitter and revel against the very thing you are trying to teach them to embrace.
My advice: parent with grace by living grace. All the scripted conversations in the world - all the scripture memory that can be done in a life time is null and void if it is not demonstrated in your daily walk. After all what makes God's grace so appealing to us? It is the fact that Jesus Christ demonstrated grace daily - not by repeating the scripture of the day, but by living and walking it.
This is worth the read and may inspire you to live with grace.
I received this review copy from Crossway in exchange for an honest review of the book.
I have known this and have tried to raise them accordingly. This is why we do family worship time, because it is imperative that they know that worshiping God is not “part” of our life, but it is our life. This is why we memorize Scripture and do catechism, because it is my responsibility to teach them the grammar of the Christian faith. This is why we homeschool, because it is my responsibility to maintain their relative purity and to protect them from evil until they are equipped to be an influence, rather than be influenced.
But in all my effort, I had spent much well intentioned time turning my children into legalistic rule keepers, “good kids”, instead of children ready to receive the Gospel of grace in Jesus Christ. All because my focus was “law” rather than “grace”, what I could do rather than what Christ has done. This book by Elisye Fitzpatrick, Give Them Grace, was an eye opener, an encouragement, and a kick in the pants. After learning so much in this book, I can safely say that I am going to do nothing to change the heart of my children...and I would have it no other way.
The first question I had to deal with was the question of “Is my parenting distinctly 'Christian'?” Would my parenting be easily distinguished from that of a good Mormon parent or Jewish parent or Muslim parent? If I were going to be honest, most of the aspects of my parenting would not be that different and this is a problem. What a Christian understands that those of other faiths do not is grace, and every aspect of my parenting(and really my life)should be saturated with grace. Sadly it was not. Not to oversimplify what I learned, but it is pretty simple. Jesus did it all. I can not, and should not try, to add anything to His finished work. My job as a parent is to love my child, discipline them, and tell them about Jesus. God will do the work on their heart and only God can...and that is a great thing!
The other thing that God convicted me on is dealt with in a later chapter but God began working on me from the very beginning. I was strongly convicted on the neccessity of ceaseless prayer in parenting, not through points made in the book but through the examples given. Constantly it is speaking of praying and prayers and I felt God move in my heart to reveal my independence and pride—two things our culture applauds but the Father abhors. I was reminded that prayer is really a declaration of dependence on God and in my parenting, realizing that my child's eternity rests on the mercy and grace of God, I am completely dependent.
This book may not convict you in the same way it did me, but it is a great reminder of the need of grace in parenting and a beautiful refresher of God's grace in every aspect of everything! This is a great book and is well worth a read.