Monday, January 25, 2010
Gospel Powered Parenting, Ch.1
I LOVE this book.
I am not one to just swallow a book whole, but this one I did and will continue to.
This is the ultimate parenting book. I love Shepherding a Child's Heart and it is my old favorite, but I think this book is so foundational that it wins out. Every chapter in this book brought me back to the Gospel and seeing all aspects of parenting in light of the cross, seeing ourselves in view of God's character and His great mercy toward us.
The author, William Farley, talks often about the importance of the father on your children. As a matter of fact, much of the book is directed specifically to the father. He says this,
"The common denominator between success and failure seems to be the spiritual depth and sincerity of the parents, especially the spiritual depth and sincerity of the father."
Farley says we "need the grace that comes to (us) through the Gospel" since parenting is difficult and because we are imperfect. I have often wondered how people raise children without the Lord. I have so many days where I just want to give up...I think I would despair if I didn't have God to turn to...if I didn't have a refuge.
God is sovereign but he uses "means" (parents) to reach our children. Holding God's sovereignty and man's responsibility in tension is what Farley emphasizes in the first chapter. He says, "It is fatal to presume upon God's sovereignty by neglecting parental faithfulness. Yet it is also a mistake to assume that it all depends on us."
He also takes a stab at those who shelter their children from the world and taking a defensive standpoint when instead he says we should take the offense and equip our children to overcome the world. He says it is our job as parents to give our children a God-centered worldview by "going after their hearts."
A few questions he asked and I had to ask myself:
What assumptions have affected my approach to parenting? (am I assuming parenting should be easy, am I assuming God is sovereign and I am responsible and holding those two in tension, am I pursuing my childrens' hearts and making the Gospel attractive, am I assuming my children are believers just because they do or say the right thing, is my house child-centered or God-centered)
Which pressures from our culture make these assumptions difficult to believe or apply?
What do you think? Have you learned or are you learning this through your parenting journey?