We’re continuing our 3 month discussion of the popular Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus (Crossway, 2011) by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson in the Family Discipleship Facebook group. If you missed the discussion of the foreword, intro, and chapter one, you can find that here, and chapters two through four here. I’d love to hear your thoughts—here and on Facebook. Below is the schedule we’re following in the group.
Chapter Five ~ Grace That Trains….
This chapter breaks discipleship into five separate categories or functions: Management, gospel nurturing, gospel training, gospel correction, and rehearsing gospel promises. I love the chart (5.1 on pages 90 and 91) which gives Scripture references and examples for each category. I also found the questions on page 92 quite helpful in determining which category of discipleship a given circumstance falls into. To be honest, a lot of this thought process is new to me and I can probably benefit from rereading this chapter a couple of times to ensure I have a good grasp on what Fitzpatrick and Thompson are communicating. I love the fact that everything is tied to Scripture and to raising kids in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the chapter:
Paul’s command to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” means this: that parents are to think about and remember Jesus Christ and then train their children to understand how everything in their life—their joys and sorrows, their trials and labors, their doubts, sin and shame—is to be understood in the light of Jesus Christ, who descended from David rather than from Levi, died, and rose from the dead. That is the best news any child could hear. Distinctly Christian parenting must be accomplished in the environment of the good news about Jesus Christ or it is not Christian parenting. It may work for a while, it may make your life manageable, and God may use it, but it is not “of the Lord.” (Give Them Grace, page 93-94)
I want my children to understand the gospel. I want to disciple them in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
What did you get from chapter five? How will your parenting change as a result?
Chapter Six ~ Wisdom Greater Than Solomon’s
This is another informationally rich chapter. I think the sections that were most impactful for me was “Is this sin or weakness and immaturity?” and “Our welcome in the family”. It looks to me like the approach the authors teach in these two sections breaks down into four subcategories: 1) Teach your kids to respect authority, 2) Teach them the gospel, 3) Trust God to work in your children, and 4) Confess your own sins. Those are valuable points. I especially like this:
We are not telling you to ignore bad behavior; nor are we saying that sinful behavior should not be corrected. We are saying that we should teach our children that sinful behavior does not alter their relationship with us. If our parenting is modeled on the gospel, then their sin, hardness, and unbelief will grieve us, we will seek to discipline and correct it, we will pray for them about it, and we will continue to love and welcome them in spite of it. But we will not demand a show of repentance before we welcome them back into relationship. (Give Them Grace, page 105)
I talked about not being the consequence for our children’s sins when I wrote Et Tu Brutus? What to Do When Our Children Break Our Hearts. Sin comes with its own consequences. Our kids don’t need to feel the cold withdrawal of our love to motivate their behavioral changes. They need Jesus. They need the gospel.
Likewise, I really appreciated the chapter’s emphasis on the difference between behavioral modification and gospel-motivated instruction to bring about heart change. It doesn’t matter if my child is the most obedient in the world if he or she is headed to eternity apart from Christ.
What part of chapter six was most meaningful to you? What challenged you the most?
What do you think about chapters five and six? Comment below, or join the discussion at the Family Discipleship Community with admins from six blogs committed to family discipleship (in no particular order): Me (surprise!), Tauna from Proverbial Homemaker, Amanda – owner of Kids in the Word, Ticia from Adventures in Mommydom, Anne Marie of Future Flying Saucers, and Joyice from Raising Boys Homeschool.
I look forward to continuing the discussion, friends.
Check out Sound Words ~ A theology program based on the Westminster Catechism from Proverbial Homemaker!
You can find Give Them Grace at:
Other parenting books reviewed on Thinking Kids
- You, Your Family, and the Internet by David Clark
- Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young
- Organic Outreach for Families by Kevin G. and Sherry Harney
- Engaging Today’s Prodigal by Carol Barnier
- Intentional Parenting by Tad Thompson
- Your Child’s Profession of Faith by Dennis Gundersen
- Parenting Against the Tide: A Handbook for 21st Century Parenting by Ann Benton
Or just check out the Thinking Kids book review indexes for
Thinking Kids Pinterest Book Boards
- Christian Books for Preschoolers
- Christian Books for 4-7 Year Olds
- Christian Books for the Middle Grades
- Christian Books for Middle School
- Christian Books for High School
- Christian Books for Kids’ Devotions
- Christian Books about Parenting
~ Danika Cooley
Danika Cooley is a children’s writer with a love for God’s Word, history, wisdom and small people. Her work has appeared in magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr.; Upper Room Ministries’ Pockets and Devozine; CBH Ministries’ Keys for Kids, and Cobblestone Group’s FACES and Odyssey. Her work also appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters.