I jumped at the chance to review Parenting with Grace and Truth: Leading and Loving Your Kids Like Jesus, because Biblical parenting has been on my heart a lot lately. In the fall, we read a book with our small group that really inspired me to think about living like Jesus, rather than just living like cultural Christianity tells us to. So, I had been thinking about what Jesus’s version of parenting would look like. Parenting with Grace and Truth digs into these two principles that Jesus modeled for us, and how to apply these to our parenting.
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What It’s About
This is not your average parenting book focusing on discipline. It mentions bigger ideas than potty training or time-outs. Instead, it discusses how we can navigate parenting issues using a foundation of truth, and showing grace to our children. I don’t know about you, but showing grace to my children is sometimes difficult for me. Nate sometimes has to remind me how little they still are!
The first chapter is about establishing household rules. This really resonated with me, since we’ve been discussing authority and character-building in our Charlotte Mason book club. Establishing a few big-picture rules based on truth, rather than thousands of nit-picky rules based on what annoys me as a mom, doesn’t hinder my children’s personalities.
One chapter talked about finding your child’s unique talents and gifts. It mentioned that it’s our job as parents to bring things talents and gifts to the surface, but to stay balanced so we don’t become too busy. I loved this quote:
“Parents seem to wear the “We’re So Busy” badge with pride instead of with the more intuitive response of alarm or even disdain.”
Being too busy is something I try to guard my family from, but the author made a good point that I also need to give my children opportunities that will allow them to see God’s purpose for their lives.
Some of the chapters discussed heavy issues, like parenting through a crisis, or what to do in light of a divorce. I can honestly say that I’ve never read a parenting book that addressed these issues, and I can see the value in it.
One of my favorite chapters is titled, “Is Parenting with Grace and Truth Normal?” A message in this chapter is that we don’t just have to go with the flow of society’s version of parenting. We have to establish our own normal. When we’ve established our expectations in this area, we have to maintain them through discipline. In Parents and Children, Charlotte Mason talked about establishing our authority as parents. I love how Seaborn’s message confirmed this when he said:
“When we allow our children to steal our normal by failing to discipline them, we eventually lose all influence with or authority over them. The goal is not for our children to be afraid of us, but a healthy respect on their part will help them understand that we can be counted on to follow through with the consequences we have established for disobedient behavior.” (page 49).
The Author’s Perspective
I really appreciated the author’s voice throughout the book. We was very honest, even giving a personal account about a difficult time the family went through. He has obviously had many experiences with children through raising his own, and through his time as a youth pastor, so his wise words are very valuable. I always enjoy reading books written by parents who have been through the whole process of parenting children from ages 0-18+!
What I Wish There Was More Of
When I opened this book, I imagined I’d see examples of Jesus’s life that give us a model for parenting. This wasn’t the case. In fact, a lot of the verses mentioned were from the Old Testament. This is of course fine, but I would just expect a little more Jesus in a book about parenting like Jesus.
Overall, this was a thought-provoking book. Even though I’m in decluttering mode right now, I’m going to hang onto this one because I think it offers some wise advice, especially for parents of older children.