As Eva and I go through our school year, I will be evaluating the books we're using. As in giving my personal opinion. Not facts, mind you. Ideas. Thoughts.
#1. Give Them Grace
I found this book from Ann Voskamp's blog. I chose this as a reference book because, honestly, it's a lot easier to show the Law than it is to show grace. Mom, occupational therapist, primary caregiver, secretary, and now teacher are lots of titles that require instruction and with instruction often comes Law. The Law can turn punitive pretty quickly. I need grace. I need to show Eva grace.
I want a balance between instruction that gives laws and grace that gives love and freedom.
Enter, Give Them Grace:
"Yes, give them God's law.
Teach it to them and tell them that God commands obedience.
But before you are done,
give them grace
and explain again the perfect story of Christ's perfect keeping of it for them."
The authors, a mother and daughter, are bold writers who are passionate about encouraging Christian parents to discipline and love their children using Christ's grace model. I love that they took the time to write a book about thought-shifting rather than 10 easy steps...I mean really, how vulnerable and humbling would it be to challenge the quid pro quo Christian parenting system? Kudos to Elyse Fitapatrick and Jessica Thompson's bravery and dedication to the gospel.
These are gems I found while reading. We may all know these, but it's good to be reminded.
- children's salvation is not in their parents' control (praise God, right???)
- parents' and children's value and estimation with God are not dependent upon performance but grace
- the Bible isn't a book of morals but rather a story of our Savior (think scarlet thread)
- parents cannot perfectly follow the Law anymore than our children can
- ALWAYS approach challenges (negative behaviors) in light of God's grace to us all
- as you both discipline and show grace to your children, confess to them that you too struggle with _____ sin. Insert pride, rebelliousness, whatever. Taking pride out of parenting helps to decrease the desire to "win" arguments with children.
These are points I need to remind myself of daily.
- be vigilant in promoting grace both your rule-followers and your rebels. "Children who make you proud and children who embarrass you must both be taught the deeper truth of the welcoming father: mercy trumps law."
Because I posted this book as a Reference for our curriculum this year, I do want to note that while I respect the authors and their perspective, I don't agree with them totally. Naturally. I don't think I agree with anyone totally on anything. I'm listing points I am not on board with, as I'm advocating the book.
1. The authors take a pretty strong stance against Christian sects or Christian-like sects who promote morality and good works. I don't think it's showing love to poke people in the eye like that. I don't agree with the sects' stance either, as I believe that we receive salvation through grace and faith, but I think you can promote grace without needing a comparison for criticism.
2. The authors differentiate between "regenerate" and "unregenerate" children and it's reflected in the language they use to correct. I don't agree with talking to children like that because they have YET to receive salvation. Daniel and I pray with Eva and talk about OUR God whom we love and who loves us, rather than structuring spiritual conversations like:
Daddy+Momma with Jesus...........................................Unregenerate Eva without
((The authors do make a point to remind unregenerates of their hope that they may share in salvation)) We're just taking the speak life route. We're trusting God that Eva will receive salvation.
3. The message reflects some reformed beliefs. I am not of the reformed persuasion, so I have a different perspective. Daniel and I had a good laugh about this. Apparently Grace is code for reformed, and informed people know it. And I should have known it when I got the book:)
Overall, I really like the paradigm shift to implement grace when guiding and parenting children. The few things I don't advocate from their book aren't essential, in my opinion, just some points that I don't agree with. With any book, you glean. And this book is worth the read, in my opinion. Not in my fact, but in my opinion.