Grace - the one thing most of us struggle with. After all what does this word actually entail? How do we show grace? Have we really accepted fully the grace God has bestowed on us - or do we understand the depth of that grace in its fullness?
This is a radical approach on parenting as it presents the idea to parent with the gospel of grace of legalistic rules. A home dominated by the telling of "the Story" instead of the implementing of rules and regulations.
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. Go to www.Crossway.org/blog for more on this and other Crossway products.